Monday, March 30, 2009

Willy Wonka, Napoli Style

Today I went on a private tour of the Gay-Odin Chocolate Factory in downtown Naples.
This was the first thing I saw as I walked in the door... Easter plates and baskets! By the way, the most amazing smell of chocolate hits you the moment you enter :)
One of the Easter eggs up close: "Happy Easter"

More Easter eggs. (They make 20,000 eggs during the Easter holiday season!)

How big do you think this egg is??????

This big! This is real... edible... huge! "Happy Easter 2009"

Our first look once inside the factory. Decorating the eggs!

Eggs ready for gifts to be put in them. (People put Easter gifts inside the eggs. Anything from toys to engagement rings!)

The owner showing us the cocoa beans.

Roasting hazelnuts and walnuts. Then they sugar coat them. We got a taste-test :) Yum!

chocolate :)

This man is preparing chocolate covered doves. The doves are a sweet bread slathered in chocolate. I was so tempted to stick my mouth under the waterfall of chocolate... ;)

If you had his job, wouldn't you be tempted to lick your hands all day??

3-day-old chocolate makes this candy called "Moo". It is a carmely, fudgy, brownie-like chocolate that will eventually be covered with a dark chocolate shell. We taste-tested this too! :)


More decorating of the eggs.

This man was painting Mt. Vesuvius on a big egg.

These are peanut-shaped wafers with a light whippy chocolate filling. The lady puts the chocolate in each wafer by hand! These were yummy...taste-test!

Group shot with my friends. This was a little difficult because there were about 10 different cameras to look at! Oh, and notice that Keegan was not looking at the camera. No way that was going to happen with chocolate eggs to stare at! He loved this entire day!

Their delivery truck! How cute is that?? They have 10 stores in Naples, 1 store in Rome and 1 in Milan.

Flowers for sale on the street near the factory.

Proof for Josh that I did buy chocolates from Gay-Odin... just in case there are none left by the time he gets home. :) Hey, I can always get more, right?

Lots of "moo" in there!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

a busy weekend

Saturday: And he's spent! A tough day looking good for the camera. Easter pics to follow!
Saturday night with his girlfriend Giada. Carl volunteered to watch the babies while Heidi and I went to a wine tasting. Awww, they look so happy before their mommies left!

Mmmm, vino! Kari and I enjoying a repeat of wine #1.

Claudia, Kari, Me & Heidi enjoying ourselves.

Sunday: Pranza (lunch) @ Esperia. Here was the tiramisu!

Keegan loves Kari & Victor!

Keegan loves to analyze faces by grabbing and pinching features.

Lisa looking at the view from Esperia.

Kari & Lisa

Victor and Keegan felt left out... they want Josh back! (me too :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Marble/Tile + Fur Tumbleweeds = Shave!

A little early this year, but Keegan and I were getting attacked by Rosco's fur!

See you again in the fall!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

this is why the camera is always with me

Keegan, Rosco and I were off to the park this morning. Though it is a really bad picture, I snapped this guy from the inside of my car, while driving. A horse and buggy from a farm, I'm guessing, down the road from me. It is always amazing to me to see things like this because there are Italians flying down the road at 60mph or so. After I took the picture the man gave a friendly wave and kept on going.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Roma if you want to

Trevi Fountain (if you look hard enough!)

Waiting for our train home to Napoli

what is this look? Mr. poser

where we ate lunch (click on the name for info):

Gnocchi with Gorgonzola and Pear Sauce

Ahh, Roma. I have stopped counting how many times I have been there. This, however, was the first time that Josh and I have ever been together. Though, it is amazing that we even made it there yesterday.

In order to make it a valuable 'day trip', we have to catch a train at 7:12am, waking up at 5:15am. Not so bad every now and then, but that is early for little Keegan... and me! I am not used to that early and dark hour anymore. Our original trip was supposed to take place on Saturday, but that didn't happen.

Friday night:
-Keegan goes to sleep at 9:00pm
-the neighbor's raging party kicks up at 11:15pm...screaming children...boisterous Italians.. Keegan wakes up
-1:15am, fireworks...Keegan wakes up (several more times after that)
-5:15am, alarm (amazingly, with no sleep, we get up and prepare ourselves for the trip)
-6:30am (Saturday), walking out the door... Josh's phone rings (dun dun dun--- he gets called in to work!)

So, Josh heads off to work. Keegan and I re-group with a couple of cat naps through the day and prepare for a trip on Sunday.

Sunday morning:
-5:15am, alarm
Lauren: are you sure you want to go?
Josh: I don't care, what do you want to do?
L: I don't know, I'm soooooo tired...
J: You tell me
L: You tell me
J: Let's go
L: Okay... getting in the shower.
J: ~snore~snore~snore (he got to sleep until I was ready)

We made it to Rome by 9:30am. We didn't really have an agenda, but took off in the direction of the Colosseum. We knew that there was a marathon going on this same day, starting at the Colosseum, but we thought the race would have everyone cycled through by then. Not so much! It was crazy busy.

We quickly diverted and began our walk toward the Bocca della Verita (Mouth of Truth). According to a famous Roman legend, the threatening mouth would snap shut on the hand of liars. Local legend also states that a former priest used to keep a scorpion in the back to bite the fingers of anyone he felt was lying. Keegan and I took our picture with the Mouth, and luckily, I still have my fingers...phew! (more pictures to come on Josh's return)
After that stop we enjoyed a long walk along the Tevere river. We ended at the Castel Sant' Angelo and it's bridge with statues. Of course, Keegan and I hung out while Josh took a million pictures.
By that time it was 12:30 and I was starving. We made our way to our planned lunch destination, Maccheroni. We were immediately greeted and asked if we had made a reservation (uh oh... I thought we would be safe not making one!). They were booked solid for the entire day because of the marathon. Luckily, they told us we could have a table if we wanted to sit outside. That was fine with us, because the weather was cool, but not uncomfortable. I was determined to eat there because it came highly recommended.
Our server, Andrea (a man, Andre-uh), spoke perfect english and was lively and attentive to us the entire time. He studied at Penn State and 'learned to serve' in the US. He said he likes to be a server to make the tourists' visit more enjoyable. We certainly enjoyed our experience there because he was great!
I ordered the recommended dish, gnocchi with gorgonzola and pear sauce. It was very good. I thought it would be heavy, but it was a very light (homemade) pasta and a very light sauce as well. Perfect for a lunch dish. Josh got the house penne with tomato/garlic/wine sauce... it was tasty too! We will definitely go back to that restaurant the next time we are in Rome!
After lunch we made a quick stop at Trevi Fountain. There were a bunch of people hanging out, so we didn't linger too long. My main mission was to buy a hat that I had my eye on the last time I was up there.
We headed back to the train station in Rome to catch the late-afternoon train. Once on the train, Keegan and Josh slept the entire 2 hour ride. I was kept awake, watching over them and our stuff...
Then, to top the day off, our GPS got us lost on the way home from the station. (We drove to the Villa Literno station to catch the train, which we had never done before.) Oh, and we were dangerously low on gas! The GPS took us through a not-so-good part of town where I nearly hyperventilated while sketchy people were staring us down... Anyway, we finally made it back, safe and sound.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Saturday, March 14, 2009

a nice day for the park

He's ready
He's set
Yea park!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Lindee's Hand Painted Wall Decor

My talented friend Lindee makes custom hand painted letters for children's rooms. She is just starting her business. Each custom letter is $16.50. If you would like to place an order with her, e-mail me or comment here and I would be happy you give you her information!
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