Friday, November 27, 2009

Kids feet that grow too fast

Julia's ski boots that should have lasted two years don't fit.  Going tonight to get Giovanni fitted out for skiing this year and check on boots for Julia.  Good news is a deal for Giovanni, a rental for the season 129€ and we can change the skis if he gets good at racing and needs a step up. He says he wants to race but I'm not pushing it. Gives me the same feeling as I had with a daughter that jumps horses - fear for their safety.  But we can't hold them back.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giovanni Does His Clown Act

He provided his own entertainment at the party. His friends all
seemed to like it a lot. He surely doesn't take after me in this

Giovanni's 8th Birthday Party

We did the party at home. It was a cold but sunny day so the kids
played outside part of the time. I think he had a good time.  And they pretty much all ate the food I cooked.  That's probably because I've learned it's not worth giving them anything particular - french fires, chicken nuggets, wurstel, candy, chips, soda, cake they love it.  Their parents can worry about giving them heath food.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Niles Helm and the American Revolution

 Here is a bit of a story about one of my ancestors that fought in the revolution.  There are others.  I am grateful to all those who served and who serve today.

On the night of December 10, 1777, the British under Sir James Wallace landed
near his home in South Kingston, Rhode Island. Awakened by the
firing of musketry, he seized his arms and went out with other
members of the militia to meet the enemy. However, the British
advanced with such force that the militia was routed, and Niles
returned to his home just in time to remove his wife and
children before the British set his house on fire and destroyed
all his property. Three months later, in March , 1778, he was
drafted in South Kingston to serve a tour of 30 days under
Captain Stephen Babcock, guarding points along the coast. A
year later, in the spring of 1779, he was again drafted to
serve a similar tour of duty, during which the British
attempted a landing with a view to forage and plunder. They
were attacked by Nile's unit and driven off, with much
difficulty. Nile's next tour of duty was with General Sullivan
when he attempted in conjunction with the French fleet to expel
the British from Newport. Niles was first drafted at Newport
for 20 days, subsequently extended to 40 days. His unit,
initially stationed at South Kingston, was subsequently
transported by boat to the north end of Rhode Island to join
the main army. The army remained there for about 15 days, when
it retreated back to Butts Hill. The retreat began near
evening, with a guard of 500 men left to cover its movements.
This guard remained through the night and became lost in the
fog the next morning when it attempted to rejoin the main body
of troops. It was attacked and "much harassed" by the British.
Subsequently a general battle ensued between Butts and Turkey
Hills,  beginning about 8 o'clock in the morning and continuing
until mid-afternoon, when the enemy asked for a truce to bury
their dead. General Sullivan granted the request and sent back
word to the British Commander that "before the next morning he
would bury them all." The enemy became alarmed lest their
retreat should be cut off, and the night after the battle
retreated back to their fort near Tommony (?) Hill, which
enabled General Sullivan to affect his retreat without further
molestation. During these actions, Niles was in the right wing
which was partially engaged with the enemy and fought through
the day.  Several days later he was discharged and returned
home. Niles then enlisted for 6 months under Captain John
Weeden, who was in charge of a gun defending the Beacon light
on Little Rest Hill in South Kingston. Besides these tours of
duty, Niles, as was the custom of most of the able-bodied
population in those days, turned out as a volunteer for several
days at a time, sometimes to defend or unload vessels, or
"repel predatory incursions of the enemy."
In his pension application he states that two brothers were in
regular service during the war; Peleg, a sergeant, and William,
a lieutenant.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Life in Italy

We slept in for an hour longer than usual. Giovanni and Julia watched TV for an hour, now they are getting dressed putting their rooms in order, then they have home work to do. Giovanni has a soccer game this afternoon and Julia has a birthday party tonight. Luisa and I are here supervising, driving, and putting the house in order. Seems like I'm describing life most anywhere.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I'm into developing one pot meals these days. It's partly because of a desire to cook good food in our camper. So I came up with this the other day kind of by accident. You know Italians use a pressure cooker a lot. I refer to it as the Italian microwave. I've seen my mother in law have two going at the same time. Anyway this can be done and on the table in say less than half an hour, if you use the pressure cooker otherwise cook it in a conventional way. It just takes longer. It's also inspired by Erin's chicken soup and a soup served at our favorite Mexican restaurant in Encinitas California.


1 whole large chicken breast skinned
2 onions
olive oil
white cooking wine
tortilla chips
salt, pepper
various seasonings as you like garlic for example.
some nice cheese grated, maybe cheddar.

Cut up the two onions, put them in the pressure cooker with some olive oil and saute them until they start to turn clear. Put in the chicken breasts cover the chicken with white wine while it's still cooking away. Add your seasoning, salt, pepper, etc. Add two or three cups of water depending on how much soup you want. Close up the pressure cooker keeping it on high until it closes up and starts to steam. Then turn the heat down to the lowest setting and let it cook for about 15 minutes. When done take out the breast and shred it with a fork.

Serve the soup in bowls adding some of the chicken, tortilla chips on top and then sprinkled with cheese. Add a little hot sauce if you like.

It's good.

You could also add some carrots to the soup mix when you start if you like or maybe some other vegtables.