Monday Listicle – The fragrant edition

Hello dear friends, and happy Monday! It’s listicle time once again, and this week Stasha’s assignment was prompted by Kerry at New2Two: !0 Fantastic Smells. Smells of all sorts are pretty much the theme for me this week, as we’re mapping out the air circulation system in the new house and all we’ve been talking about is which areas of the house smell dirty (i.e. bathrooms, closets, laundry room, kitchen) so we need to pump air out and which smell clean (bedrooms, living room etc) so we need to pump air in… I know… mind numbingly boring, and frankly, more complicated than one would expect!

I have the feeling the renovation is going to be taking over this blog for awhile… thanks to those who commented on last week’s post on the guest bathroom, you’ve really helped me narrow down the choices! If you’re interested in being my virtual (unpaid) interior designer, on Thursday I’m going to put up another reno post asking for opinions. (Just thought I’d mention that).

Anyway, now let’s concentrate on the listicle, 10 fantastic smells, in no particular order:

1. spring showers

2. grilled meat

3. freshly brewed coffee first thing in the morning

4. The Boy

5. The Girl

6. carrot cake in the oven

7. my lavender plant in the sun

8. the Husband

9. sun dried laundry

10. tomatoes fresh from the garden

Help me out of the sink-ing ship!

So I’ve mentioned how I bought a house last year, right? And I’ve been knee deep in toilets? Well now, I’m drowning in a sea of sinks, bathtubs and showers. Everyone keeps saying this is the “fun part” of renovating a house… though it really seems more of the “water boarding part” of renovating a house. I spent all morning yesterday at a bathroom store looking at sinks, and faucets, and cabinets, and… oh my GOD the tedium! They were all wonderful. Almost every single thing in the store was great. Which makes me want to shoot my brains out all over everything because how am I supposed to decide?

Which is where you come in… I need your opinion, so go ahead, weigh in! We’re starting with the powder room today. I want the wow factor in this half bath and since there’s only so much wow you can elicit with a toilet I’m thinking the sink is where it’s at (we’ll be discussing wall paper and floors next).

So what do you think of these, love, hate or what the hell is she thinking? (Excuse the images, but I took pictures of the catalogues with my phone… not my best work…)


I imagine this with a rococò gold swirly wallpaper background.


I found the perfect newsprint tiles to go with this, can’t find the image now, but I’ll post it as soon as I do. Just imagine newspaper cutouts on the floor with the occasional, small, colorful, butterfly… flying around.

the handle is encrusted with tiny, diamond-like, swaroski crystals

the handle is encrusted with tiny, diamond-like, swaroski crystals

espresso cup sinks!

espresso cup sinks!

coffee cup sinks!

coffee cup sinks!

Fancy coffee cup sinks!

Fancy coffee cup sinks!

So what do I do, WHAT DO I DO??!!

The heart of the home


As I may have mentioned a time or twenty, we bought a “house” (i.e. very, very old, falling apart, structure that vaguely resembles something one might one day live in) last year and are in the very long and articulated process of renovating it. And, though I’m very happy to finally call myself a homeowner at the ripe old age of ahem… mid thirties… I’ve recently realized that I’m going to miss the house we’ve been renting for the past seven years. Our first actual house, with a yard, where our two kids were born (one almost literally), where they learned to crawl, and walk, and talk… so I’ve been thinking about documenting it, for posterity, room by room, maybe a couple of posts a months from now until we move in to the new place. And in one of those lucky twists of fate that happen once in a blue moon MamaKat’s prompt: “show us your kitchen”, called to me like a much needed bell toll to get my procrastinating self into gear.

So here you have it, as the first post of a long goodbye to the house we’ve called home for seven years, my kitchen:




I have a love hate relationship with this kitchen. In Italy, when you move into a house all the rooms are generally empty, there’s no kitchen, no closets, the bathrooms come with the bare essentials plumbing, toilet, bidet, sink and shower or bath, nary a cabinet, mirror, or light to be found. This is so even if you’re renting, unless the house is said to be partially furnished (meaning it has grandma’s old kitchen from the 1940’s – with the original appliances). When we moved in we bought the kitchen and a few other things from the previous renters. I didn’t really like the kitchen, I’m not a huge fan of the red, I didn’t really like the layout, and I hated the counters, stove, and sink (I changed the last three), but we got it for a bargain and we didn’t know how long we’d be here so… eh…

Seven years later and I really, really, hate the red.

In fact, if I may presume to suggest anything to anyone, if you’re renovating or building, get a kitchen in the most neutral color you can imagine (I’m partial to white) and then just paint the walls, you can change the color of your walls however many times you want for a fraction of the cost and hassle of changing the color of your kitchen cabinets.

But I also love this kitchen, because the kitchen, often, is the heart of the home. And a lot of things happened in this kitchen.

Food gets cooked in this kitchen:
pasta stracotto  ravioli strudel

dishes and stuff get washed by little hands


and things get baked (by short people…)


birthdays are celebrated






and silliness happens

silliness happens

Turkeys are carved


and cakes decorated

car cake

children eat politely. yes, even that happens! (rarely, so rarely in fact three different moms ran for their cameras)


and old friends get togetherfriendsmingle

I may not like it anymore, and I may not want to admit it, but I’m going to miss this little red kitchen, a lot of heart happened here.

Linking up with MamaKat’s writer’s workshop.


Mama’s Losin’ It

Set in my ways, like a cranky old codger

As I’ve mentioned I’m at the beach with the kids, and this time away from home has helped me realize a few things about myself and my life. Our day-to-day here is much simpler, we get up, we have breakfast, we get ready and we go to the beach (with a couple of fights, a crying fit or two, the beds getting made, and me yelling a bit in between). We spend a few hour at the beach, we have lunch, we come home, bathe and nap. I clean and look at blogs, we go out, to the greengrocer, the baker, the butcher, and the candlestick maker. (I’m actually kidding about that last one.) Then we have dinner, go back down to the square for the dancing or kiddie show or whatever entertainment is on offer that night and then we go to bed, get up the next morning and wash, rinse, repeat. If friends come to stay our routine remains pretty much the same, even whilst the chaos level rises exponentially, but it’s all good.

When the husband or the nanny come though… well, I’ve noticed I start getting a little tense, a little more upset, a little… completely pissed off all the time. Why? Because the truth is I’m 36 going on 89. I’m set in my ways, I like things just so, when I settle into a routine I don’t like to have it disrupted. Well, more like I positively despise having it disrupted. The nanny, she puts the dishes away wrong, she puts too much detergent in the washer, she sneaks bleach in the house when I’m trying to green my cleaning products… at home I don’t mind, I’ve got too much to do, and as long as the house is clean I don’t really care how it gets that way. But here, I’m in control of my life, the house is small enough to be manageable and it’s new, everything is where I want it, it’s mine, more than the house we live in every day is. And I want things just so.

The husband, he comes and he wants to go to the beach earlier, or later, he wants to have breakfast at the cafè, he wants to go swimming, or he doesn’t, he hogs the shade, he talks on the phone with the office or his colleagues or his mother. He invites his mother over without asking me, when he isn’t here. He wants to eat dinner out, or in, he wants pizza or sushi or pasta. All legitimate requests, but annoying nonetheless cause he screws with my routine. I can’t just decide and do, when he’s here, I have to suggest, listen, negotiate. Many of these are the same reasons why I wanted to separate a few months back, because life on my own is just easier most of the time. I’ve come to terms with it in my regular life, I realize that with every negotiation I don’t have to face, with every concession I don’t have to make I’m paying the price in sole responsibility, snow shoveling, and spider elimination. So you compromise, in marriage. But I’m on vacation and when he’s around I’m not on vacation anymore. Sure, I’m on an extended version of the mother vacation which means I still cook and clean and run after children, referee fights and all that, but my mind’s on vacation and then he shows up and effectively rains on my parade.

The truth is though, that I should just be thankful that I have a nanny who takes the kids off my hands so I can get some work done, or cleans the house, or irons our clothes, I should be happy to see the Husband on the weekends, to talk to another adult, to go out to eat or have an extra ice cream or a cocktail. I’m just a cranky, old lady, despite my relatively young age. And all I can think of is God help us all when I actually reach my old age cause I’m going to be completely intractable, like a codgery old fool.

Monday Listicles – Home sweet home

I’m at a bit of a loss with Stasha’s listicles this week, ten words that describe your home… because we just recently bought what will someday soon become our very first home that we own and not rent. But right now, it’s not much of a house. So do I describe my future home, now that I’m a proud homeowner, or do I describe the house I’ve been renting for the past six years, where my kids were born and that is currently my “home”. Hmmm…. Maybe a little bit of both….

First a look to the past:

1. family – the house we live in now is where we started our family

2. bittersweet – I’m a little sad that this house that holds so many memories isn’t our homestead

3. adulthood – though the husband and I had lived together in two other apartments prior to this house, this is the one we actually tried to turn into a home, our first home as adults (took us long enough!)

4. fear – though this house is in no way to blame, we’ve lived some wonderful and some terrifying moments in it, so I hope that leaving it behind will also symbolically mean leaving behind the husband’s illness.

5. leaky pipes – I’ll be very happy to forget all about them!

And then a look to the future:

1. Very, very old stable cause that’s what my future home is today, built in the seventeenth century it was a house for horses, and the top floor was a house for stable boys.

2. ruin – like the ancient ruins, literally.

3. blood, sweat and tears – which is actually three words but it’s the idea that I’d like to convey of what it’s going to take to turn it into a home.

4. dream – the Husband and I have been looking at houses/apartments/land to buy for the last 10 years but never found anything that suited us.

5. compromise – because this house won’t be the perfect house, our quest for the perfect house has ended, now we own an actual, real house (or we will once we’re done renovating.)

Link up for Monday listicles!