We decided to invite many of the girls' friends from church to the party, plus a few neighbors that we have gotten to know since moving here. I didn't realize it when I planned the party, but it was the same weekend as a Monday holiday. So, yeah, a lot of people go out of town in Italy for holiday weekends. Despite this little kink, we still had 28 people show up for the girls! I felt so blessed to have such wonderful, new friends in the girls' lives. Seriously, how awesome is that?!?!
We decided to fire up the smoker grill and smoke some chickens and pork roasts. Oh my gravy, I'm still not sure what to say. Charcoal in Italy isn't the same as in the US. It doesn't light the same and doesn't want to stay lit. I spent an hour just getting the coals hot. I don't mean it took an hour for even temperature...I was out in the back yard, on the ground, feeding this fire for an hour! Once it was going, it was wonderful. It stayed in the ideal range of heat and was smoking those meats up wonderfully! Well, I took off the chickens, put the rest of the chickens on and came in the house. I started to smell a slight burning smell so went out and removed the pork, mopped the chickens and went back to cleaning the house. The next time I checked the smoker, I had a grease fire on my hands! Unfortunately, the last 2 chickens were sacrificed. I had to throw baking soda on them to put out the grease fire. Luckily, we had plenty of meat for the party and didn't need those two chickens. I also made some pasta salad, roast zucchini, garden salad, homemade ranch dressing, chocolate cupcakes and a lemon cake. I'd say it was a success. I didn't have nearly the leftovers I was hoping to have. ;) Just kidding!
The party was so much fun and I can't express how blessed I feel! We had friends from Ireland, Wales, Cameroon, Brazil, Italy, Finland, oh and America there. Side note: I am always amazed at the diversity of our church here in Torino. It makes you more aware of God's love for the nations in a real and tangible way.
Here are a few pics from the festivities. We are just horrible about taking many pictures. We get so wrapped up in being present. Sorry...
Some of the party goers...(we got the camera out after some left...sorry to our Finnish friends!)
Happy birthday girls! Carla, we miss you!!!
J Jr. can always find his way to photobomb. I'm not sure this was intentional.
Say what? You want the entire cake? Don't think so!
I love how their friend from church (I will just say N for the blog) made it into so many pictures. She loves the girls and they love her!
Sometimes Mommy gets as excited as the kids! Seriously, folks, anything new is exciting these days.
The next day was church and the day after was Liberation from the Nazis Day here in Italy. We celebrated Italy's liberation by doing a hike with another couple from church. The hike was easy enough for this bag of bones to make it, but the views were spectacular! Breathtaking! Awe-inspiring! No matter what I can say about Italy, I cannot say it is an ugly country.