Monthly Archives: December 2010

New articles on Babyzone.com: Fighting the flu…and post-baby weight

It’s been a busy month! Below are my newest pieces for Babyzone. Two timely topics for this household….

Celebrity Mom’s Diet Secrets: How They Lost the Baby Weight

Flu Prevention Tips: 12 Ways to Keep Your Family Healthy All Year Long

Look for my HGTV.com project next.

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Merry Christmas!

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Decorating Christmas cookies

Sabina came over to help decorate Christmas cookies a few days before the festivities got into full swing. First Phoebe and I rolled out the low-sugar, whole wheat dough then cut out our trees, hearts, balls and more.

Best of all, Phoebe got to wear her new apron…it says Phoebe. Paul’s mom made it. Sabina got to wear one too. Hers didn’t say Phoebe.

Then the decorating began. Many sprinkles made it onto the cookies–one in particular.

Many more did not.

Just when Phoebe started losing steam, Sabina helped out…

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First hat of the season

It’s been wet but not really cold…until now. This is just as well because it was no small feat to get the hat on her head. Mittens are next. Wish us luck.

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Lunch in a castle

We are very lucky. I say this for many reasons but today I am talking about having a few Italian friends. As ex-pats it’s not always easy to integrate into the local culture, particularly when you’re really quite bad at speaking the local language. But thanks to our crazy birth class last year, we’ve got a handful of families who we’re still thrilled to call friends. Among them are Molly and Giuseppe whose family has a lovely villa in Sabina. This weekend we were invited to a lunch at a castle in the region, in honor of olive oil season. (It also happens to be the place where they were married–talk about lucky!)

Sabina, one of the smallest but quite an important attendee. She was named for the area, plus it’s just a lovely Italian name.

Mehtab and Naila, who were also friends from the birth class, came with Marco.

And of course, Sweet Baby Phoebe doesn’t miss a castle outing; here she is decked out in her Sunday best.

Even I took the opportunity to wear something other than sweatpants. Reluctantly I decided to spare the Italians my sloppy-but-oh-so-comfy sweatsuits on this day.

And it worked out, possibly because there were these delicious little cookies. I got to eat Paul’s too.

Rounding off the charming experience was something even more picturesque: a live puppet show. Built into the castle was a lovely little puppet theater where a show began after lunch. It was all in Italian so Paul and I weren’t great at following along. Phoebe however, LOVED IT. She sat on my lap, transfixed by the action ahead. At 18 months I expected her to lose interest immediately. Instead she took it all in. We’ve always joked that she’s our only hope for learning the language better but…


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Sometimes all it takes is a box

Cancel the Christmas presents?

Nah, there’s a very cute mini-kitchen waiting for December 25. Though I’m fairly certain that I’ll be more into it than Phoebe…


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Nothing like we expected, twice

We went to Orte, a small town located about an hour from Rome, to look at an apartment. Yes, an apartment. Anyone who knows me knows I’ve longed for outdoor space for years. But as it turns out, a garden is just as hard to find in Rome as it was in New York City. So when I saw the ad saying “large terrace in a hilltop village”–for less than half of what we pay now–I packed up the crew and set out to see it on a sunny Saturday.

The apartment was indeed nestled into the side of a stone wall, a cave really. The architecture of the whole village was charming and fascinating. And the apartment itself was also interesting with a beautifully open kitchen layout, a big terrace and even a wine cellar. However, it was an awkward layout for a family with small children; two steps up here, one flight down there, uneven cement floors in places, bedrooms on separate floors. And worse, it was old and needed repair–but the owner didn’t think so. She remembered the apartment as it was in the glory days, even whipping out the family photo album to show us how she’d overseen the renovation herself…fifteen years ago. As Paul said, it would be an amazing place to buy and fix up yourself, but not to rent. And not from her.

So we headed home, to our own apartment that isn’t in need of repair and has all of the bedrooms on one floor. (It’s funny, for as much time as I’ve spent looking for other apartments, none are ever better than ours. I’m always relieved to get home! And with Bambina II coming soon, my days of real estate exploration are over. For now.) On a tip from the owner, we stopped at what she explained to be a park with a playground. Only the whole thing was fenced off. Confused but determined to figure it out since we’d actually found the place, we wandered in through the open doors of an entrance around the corner. That’s where we found ourselves paying 9 Euros each so we could enjoy the little playground but also visit Bomarzo, the semi-famous sculpture park created in the 16th century by the famously wealthy Orsini family. It’s their “Park of Monsters”, with dozens of over-sized sculptures of every kind.

It turned out to be something Paul had wanted to see for a while. But it was also dangerously close to nap time and not knowing we were about to embark on several acres of gardens, we left the stroller in the car. So we strolled, in the literal sense. We saw about six pieces before calling it quits–and nap time.

Laughing to ourselves back in the car, we wondered why the lady hadn’t mentioned the park’s true setting but then thought, maybe she hasn’t been here in a while. Maybe fifteen years.

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Pineapple take two

Here we are again! At sweet week 33, Baby Center once again reports that LTB is the size of a pineapple.

I, however, resemble something much larger.

But that’s okay.

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Fun at the zoo

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Happy December!

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