Friday, 30 June 2017

Summer Fun in the Sun!

I've teamed up with some wonderful ladies from the #Momstertribe group to offer you all a list of great summer fun, or divertimento (in Italian)!  From recipes to travel tips to party ideas and more! There is tons to check out! Don't delay, scroll down below...


Easy Peasy Pinwheels | Blog Link: A Boy and His Mom

With summer parties and BBQs in full swing, here's an easy recipe that the other guests will not only enjoy but ask you to bring again!

Quick and Easy Freezer Pops | Blog Link: Happily Ever Hauser 

Summer is here! This means celebrations, birthday parties, BBQs and more!  Here's a quick and easy party favour idea to add to your next summer gathering!

Summer Crab Salad Recipe | Blog Link: Ordinary Stephanie

Summer is here and the temperatures are rising!  If you are looking for a yummy and fresh salad recipe, check out this one!  After all, who wants to turn on the oven or stove on these hot summer days?  Enjoy!

Summer Activities

Disneyland Time-Saving Tips from a Local Mom | Blog Link: Mom and Carrot

Are you heading to the Disneyland Resort this summer?  Here are great tips from a local mom for seeing the resort when you are short on time, including how to beat food lines and how to go through security check-points quicker.  This post will help you see more and do more on your next trip!

Minimalistic Beach Days | Blog Link: Live Love Learn Gracefully

Whether you live at the beach or visit one throughout the summer, beach days are a blast on hot summer days!  If you add kids to the mix, you'll more than likely be taking everything but the kitchen sink with you!  Here are some tips and my top 5 favourite things to take to the beach!

Disney Summer Play Days | Blog Link: New Adventures in Mommyhood

The summer is a great time to take on new adventures and try some new activities - especially as the kiddos start to get restless.  Did you know that the Disney store offers a free annual summer long weekly event?  Read all about it by clicking on the blog link above!

Five Things to Research Before You Head Out This Summer | Blog Link: A Life with a Little 

This summer means fun in the sun, barbecues, hot dogs, cool drinks, exploring with the kids, and enjoying some much needed relaxation. However, before you get out in the sun, check out this list of five things you should research BEFORE you head out for your summer plans!  Here are five things you might not think to research about the places you'll go, so take a look and find out some interesting tips you will need before the kids drag you out of the house!

Fun Activities at Home 

#PayFunForward Summer Fun - Surprise Packs | Blog Link: Travels With Tots

Summer is finally here and it's a great time to spread some cheer around your neighbourhood!  Here's how we did it and how you can, too!

Summer Activities for Kids at Home | Blog Link: Jesus and Wine

Summer is officially here, and we're celebrating by listing 10 different summer activities you can do with your kids at home this summer!  The best part?  They're inexpensive, involve little prep work, and they're great for kids of any age! Keep your kids entertained and enjoying summer with these fun activities!

Top Five Best Water and Sensory Tables of 2017 | Blog Link: Little Bit of Learning

It's hard to stay cool during the summer and keep your kids actively engaged in play.  That's why I love these water tables!  Your porch will be the hit this summer with these engaging water tables plus some ideas for great sensory add-ons!

Pass along these great ideas by pinning the images above! 
(Scroll over the top left corner of the image to find the pin button)

Monday, 19 June 2017


Summertime equates with many things, especially, gelato - or ice cream.  While there are a variety of flavours and toppings to choose from, one of my all-time favourite gelato desserts has to be the Italian "affogato" dessert.  

The title of the dessert "affogato," which means "drowned" in Italian, perfectly explains what this dessert is all about - the ice cream is essentially "drowned" in espresso.  Sounds simple? Because it is!  This dessert is oh so easy to make, and oh so refreshing on that hot summer day! 

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To start, place some vanilla ice cream into a bowl or cup (traditionally, this dessert is often served in a cup, however it all depends on how much you want! ;) ).  Although vanilla is the preferred ice cream flavour for this dessert, you could actually use any kind of ice cream that you enjoy mixed with the espresso.  For the purpose of this post, I used a chocolate chip ice cream, as I enjoy that little extra punch of chocolate mixed with the espresso!  

Next, prepare a shot of espresso!

Pour the espresso onto the ice cream...

VoilĂ !  You have your affogato dessert! Notice how the espresso melts the ice cream, creating a beautiful creamy texture!  Enjoy! 

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Tips for a healthier, longer life from Sardinia, Italy

There are a few places around the world where citizens live well past 100 years old, and in good health too!  Where, you ask?  Blue Zones.  There are five Blue Zones in the world, and the Ogliastra Region of Sardegna (Sardinia), Italy is one of them!  This area of Sardegna includes untamed landscapes and mountainous regions, including the Gennargentu Mountains. The other Blue Zones include: Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, California; and Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica. 

So what is it about these "magical places" that makes their citizens live longer and healthier than anywhere else in the world?  Dan Buettner, along with a group of researchers, found out exactly that when they embarked on a voyage back in 2004 to study various communities with a high percentage of centenarians.  Upon his findings, Buettner wrote a book entitled, "The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest," which was published in 2008.  Since then, Buettner has given a TED talk entitled, "How to live to be 100+" and he has written numerous other books on the subject.

In this post I will be focusing on the Blue Zone of Sardegna, Italy. I recently did some research on Sardegna while working on an article for the Italian-Canadian publication, Panoram Italia Magazine.  The Blue Zone factor sparked my interest to learn more, and so I began researching what it was about Sardegna that helped it's citizens live longer. I have gathered my findings below in a list of top 10 tips that you can translate into your everyday lives to help you live better and longer! Enjoy!
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1) DIET:  Sardinians regularly fill their bellies with beans, garden vegetables and fruit, while 
eating meat only occasionally and in small portions.  They also don't fill up on thick panini (buns), but instead eat a flat bread, called Carta da musica (sheet music) with their meals.

2) WINE: Sardegna is known for it's Cannonau wine which is reported to have two to three times more flavonoids than other wines.  Locals consume about 1-2 glasses a day.

3) EXERCISE: The island of Sardegna may be known for it's gorgeous beaches, but it is actually quite rugged with it's mountains and untapped terrain.  It is this type of landscape that has contributed to the healthy exercise of the many centenarians that live there, as they are not only simply walking to their destinations but hiking!  Proof that the  gym isn't the only place to become fit!

4) LIFESTYLE: Centenarians didn't grow up sitting around watching TV or surfing the net on their iPhones, many of them were or still are shepherds, therefore living a life of manual labour. The exercise in Sardegna is done naturally and continuously, all the while conditioning the body to sustain the lifestyle of the environment.  Although we may not have sheep to tend to in our daily lives, we must not become sedentary -  keep busy!

5) MODERATION: It's especially important to eat and drink in moderation.  Sardinians are strong believers in the importance of portion control.  In fact, Buettner explains in his book, "The Blue Zones Solution," that in the Blue Zone communities, two common beliefs are to stop eating when one is about 80 percent full to avoid weight gain, and to eat the smallest meal of the day in the late afternoon or evening.

6) PECORINO CHEESE AND GOAT'S MILK:   Pecorino cheese and goat's milk are staples in the Sardinian diet.  This is probably due to the fact that they are so readily available.  Shepherds use hand-drawn milk from their grass-fed sheep to make fresh Pecorino cheese, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids.  Goat's milk also has many health benefits, such as anti-inflammatory properties and digestion support.  

7) AIR: According to those who have experienced the island-life of Sardegna first hand, like New York Times Best-Selling author and entrepreneur, Sarah Wilson, there is something about the air in Sardegna. She states on her website, "everywhere I went folks mentioned the 'energy' of the rocks. I felt it, too, after a while. There's a calmness to the place, especially up in the mountains." 

7) LAUGHTER: Sardinians are known for their sense of humour.  In his 2008 book,  Buettner noted that Sardinian men gathered together each afternoon to share a laugh.  Seeing as laughter is known to reduce stress levels, which then benefits health, this could very well be one of the contributing factors to their long lifespan.

8) NO-STRESS: Speaking of stress, it seems that word doesn't really exist in the Sardinian vocabulary.  Life there moves at a much slower pace; Wilson explains, "it's a joke on the island that no one ever wears a watch."  While we may not be able to ignore the ticking clock in our everyday lives, this point serves as a great reminder of the importance of unplugging every now and then and taking the time to relax. 

9) NAPS: In his book, "The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest" Buettner recognizes that regular napping (30 minutes, three times a week) can ward off coronary heart disease (napping lowers stress hormones and rests the heart, which are believed to be the contributing factors). Now you can say yes to guilt-free napping! 

10)  FAMILY: As one of the corner-stones of Italian culture, it is no surprise that family is of importance in the communities of Sardegna.  Regular family meals, engagement between young and old generations and commitment to taking care of aging parents and grandparents are some of the key components that contribute to sustaining a long, healthy life.  This is a great reminder to connect with and make time for those who matter most in your life!

I hope you can find a way to add some or all of these tips to your lifestyle! As the Italians say, "a cent' anni!" ("to 100 years!") 

pics 1 / 2 / 3 

Thursday, 11 May 2017


Mother's Day is the perfect time to treat that special lady in your life to breakfast in bed! Whether you are making a mother's day wish list for yourself, or conjuring up ideas to surprise a mommy in your life, scrumptious waffles should definitely be included!

The term, "waffle," first appeared in the English language in 1725, although, there is historical evidence of waffles being made previous to that date.  With such a long history, it's no surprise there have been a few adaptations to the original recipe along the way.  Today, with all the various sweet and savoury options, you can have waffles for breakie, lunch or dinner!  Your choice!

Scroll through below to check out how various countries add their unique twist to this Belgian culinary speciality. 

Italian Pizzelle

Italy's version of "waffles" is quite different from the fluffy version most are used to.  Pizzelle are thin and usually crunchy.  They are especially tasty when topped with nutella or jam! Find this recipe at Tara's Multicultural Table.

Authentic Belgian Waffles 

For a true Belgian waffle recipe - made with yeast dough and not batter! - check out Christina's Cucina.  The recipe (pictured above) was inspired from her trip to Bruges, Belgium - it doesn't get any more authentic than that!

Dutch Stroopwafles

If you have ever had a dutch stroopwafel on it's own, I'm sure you can agree, they don't need any enhancement!  However, these stroopwafel sandwiches with strawberries, marscapone cheese and chocolate from Drizzle & Dip dare to challenge that thought.  These sweet creations are simply mouthwatering!

Hong Kong Egg Waffles 

These waffles not only hold a delicious flavour, but a unique look as well!  The crisp edges offer a nice contrast to the soft bubbly centres, making this "street eat," a melt-in-your-mouth favourite!  Check out the recipe at Kirbie's Cravings.

Southern-Style Chicken and Waffles

For a savoury option, check out this Southern recipe at Garlic & Zest. These waffles - filled with cheddar, green onions and chives - can be paired up with bacon and eggs as well, to make this more of a breakfast dish!

Thursday, 13 April 2017

easter language learning fun

With Easter only a few days away, many preparations are on the go. While food is always a top priority at Easter celebrations, activities for entertaining should also rank high on the list.  After all, no one wants cranky dinner guests to spoil a delicious meal!

Usually entertainment during the Easter season is focused on the little ones in the family.  With egg decorating, egg hunts and Easter colouring, there are no shortage of activities during this time of year.  However, did you ever consider adding a fun language twist to those activities?  It's so easy to do and takes little to no effort!

Read on for some fun ideas on how you can teach the kiddies in your family (and the adults!) some Easter related terms in another language! Enjoy!

1. Easter Egg Hunt:  

Many individuals fill up plastic eggs with chocolates or candy for their annual Easter egg hunt.  This year, slip in a piece of paper with an Easter term on it in another language.  For example, if your language focus is Italian, write the word, "Pasqua," on a piece of paper and add it into the plastic egg.  Now, write the corresponding English translation on another piece of paper ("Easter"), and put that into another plastic egg.  When all the eggs are found (and after the kids have devoured their treats!) you have two sets of terms to play a matching game.  Tell the kiddies to find the corresponding English translations to all the terms in Italian (or whatever other language you have chosen).
This is an especially great game if you are looking for an alternative to food related treats for your Easter egg hunt. It's also something that grandparents can have fun joining in on, if they can help the littles in learning the new language!

2. Easter Egg Hunt - Counting and Vocabulary:

Once your little ones have all their Easter eggs collected, count the number of eggs they have collected in another language!

As you give your little ones clues on where to find the eggs, practice using different vocabulary words in the target language.  For example, practice prepositions such as, "in," "under," or "on," in the target language or verbs such as, "open," and "close." 

3. Easter Egg Decorating

The activity lends itself every well to learning colours!  As your child develops their inner Picasso, explain the different colours they are using, in the target language you want to learn.  

4. Easter Colouring/Crafts

There are a multitude of Easter related images you can find online (for example, bunny, lamb, egg, etc.) for your little one to colour or create in a craft activity. While you can surely continue teaching colours in another language during this activity, this is also a great time to introduce the terms of the images you are colouring or crafting, in another language. Aside from just saying the terms out loud, write the terms down for your child on the colouring page or craft that they are doing and have your little one trace the term! 

5. Read a book
Finding an Easter related book in the target language you are trying to learn is ideal.  This would provide a variety of opportunities to introduce new vocabulary and practice pronunciation of target language terms.  If you can't find a book in the language you are looking for, try out your writing skills, and write a short story for your little one!  If this is definitely not an option for you, another great language learning tool is music!  Seek out Easter related songs or rhymes in the target language you are learning, and let the fun begin!

Monday, 10 April 2017

EASTER GIFT IDEAS - babies and toddlers

Easter is only days away!  If you're still looking for some great gifts, I've got you covered! From babies to toddlers, this list has a variety of options for the special little ones in your life!  Enjoy!

1. The Easter Egg Story Book with Nesting Eggs -  This book and nesting egg set is a great way to teach your little one about the true meaning of Easter!  

2. Personalized Easter basket - Not only do these personalized baskets help to collect Easter treats, they make a great keepsake for years to come!

3. Squeeze and Teeth Lamb - This cute little lamb is sure to keep a teething baby happy during the Easter season!

4. Giggling Gourmet Put n' Shake Eggs - These adorable little eggs which make noise as they shake, will help keep your little one entertained!  What's more, this set helps to teach your little one their numbers.  Try saying the numbers in different languages and it will make for a great language learning activity as well!

5. Cherry Blossom Pink Enamel Gold Stud Earrings - If you're looking for an extra special gift this Easter season, consider these beautiful studs.  This gift can also grow with your child, making it a lasting favourite!

6.  Girandola Sleeveless Dress and Mayoral Short and Short Set - These adorable outfits from European designers, Girandola and Mayoral, are sure to make a statement at your Easter celebrations!

7. Plush Lamb and Plush Bunny with Chick - These soft toys will surely become your little one's best friends!

8. Bunny Slippers - These cozy slippers will help your little one hop around during Easter!

9. Ceramic Sheep Coin Bank - Your little one will have fun putting their coins into this cute sheep bank.  Count as you go along and you have a great learning moment as well!

10. Pete the Cat: Big Easter Adventure - Books are always a great idea at Easter time!  This story also has a French version available for that extra language learning!

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Dolce and Gabanna X SMEG

If you're looking for ways to add a little european flair to your home, fashion house, Dolce & Gabbana, and home appliance manufacturer, Smeg Australia, have what you need with their latest collaborative project, Silicy is my Love.

The two companies have brought together design talents from two completely different realms, fashion and home appliances, to offer a distinctive collection of Smeg's retro small kitchen appliances decorated with Dolce and Gabbana's signature style.   

The vibrant collection includes toasters, kettles, blenders, stand mixers and coffee machines decorated with various symbols of Sicilian culture.  Patterns include various fruits, florals, famous landscapes, and the traditional trinacria (a symbol found on the Silician flag). 

The collection highlights personal points for each company: 

As well as epitomizing the symbols and traditional artwork of Sicily, the Sicily is my Love collection also celebrates the home of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana while highlighting two of Smeg's passions - good food and original, innovative design. (

The collection will be showcased at Milan's annual design show, Salone del Mobile, which runs april 4th-9th.

pics via 1/2-4

design + development by kelly christine studio