Thursday, April 29, 2010

Firenze (Part 2)

Whew! I just finished posting about my Tuscan get-away on Facebook, so I figured it was high time to finish sharing my pictures that I can move on to blogging about Verona!!!

After the Duomo, we went to lunch and then a gelaterie close to the Duomo before splitting off into our own directions. I set off in search of Santa Croce, and found this piazza on the way:

Piazza della Signoria:

It was a very beautiful area, and had I known there was an amazing museum right there, I'd have likely lost time in there! There were even amazing works of art out in the open piazza; scupltures and a fountain (but as they contain nakkidittity, and I know Gryphon is looking at the pics, I'll not post those ones can see them on my Facebook, though!) that were beautifully crafted! Instead, I pressed on toward Santa Croce, the "pantheon of Florence."

It was an amazing experience to be there. I wish I could have gone in without kids and truly enjoyed it for all that it is. There was also a lot of restoration going on inside, so I didn't get to see all the tombs, but I did get to see Michaelangelo's final resting is a work of art in itself! (Quite appropriate, no?) Very beautiful.

Tomb of Michaelangelo:

A pulpit that I thought looked super cool:

Florence was an amazing experience that I can't even put into all the right words. My pictures hardly do any justice to actually being there, and I didn't have nearly enough time to see all that I wanted to! Thankfully, my mother-in-law wants to go when she comes to visit, so I may be able to get to more of Florence's sights in the not-so-distant future. :)

A view common in Florence;
narrow streets hemmed in with tall buildings and a bell tower in the distance:

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mad-lib part duex

Here is my list of words, plugged into the story!:

Harry Potter And The Curse of Dudley

Harry Potter, the boy wonder, the cheerleader of the wizarding world; sat alone in his tiny bedroom scratching his fingernail and cleaning the goo out of Hedwig's cage. This summer wasn't nearly as boring as his previous summers had been.

Over the summer, his cousin Dudley had grown quite frightened of him. Harry secretly kept cursing him, even though under age use of magic was strictly forbidden outside of Hogacne's school of housecraft and snail.

It seemed the wizarding world turned a blind stomach when it came to Harry, and he never got in trouble for his... transgressions.

One particularly memorable curse on Dudley happened on the 12th of June. It was so hot, you could laugh a/an cottage on the sidewalk.

Dudley sat on his enormous nose in front of the telly, spooning jarful after jarful of pizza down his throat. Harry thought he looked rather bearish, with his piggy little eyes and fat body.

Harry got an evil little grin on his lips and raised his wand behind Dudley's head. "BODIUS SWITCHAMUS!" he shouted; which translated to English means "Turn this boy's head into a strawberry and make him dance around like a cat with OCD!"

And that's just what Dudley did! He clothed off the couch, screamed "SNIVELLUS!" to the top of his lungs, and began walking on the floor, while turning in circles and flapping his toes.

Harry was laughing so hard, he peed his shoe. He was still laughing, and Dudley was still flapping, when Uncle Vernon came thundering down the stairs. He had gone a nice shade of purple. He looked at Harry, shaking in anger, then looked at Dudley, horrified. "SOON YOU WILL BE ON TOP OF THE WORLD!" he screamed, then calmly turned and walked away.

Harry and Dudley looked at each other in abject confusion. Harry shrugged his shoulders in a "beats me" gesture, and the two cousins sat on the sofa, temporarily forgetting their animosity toward one another.

Dudley lifted the half empty jar of pizza and offered it to Harry.

"Don't mind if I do!" said the bespectacled young man, grabbing a spoon and preparing to dine.

Dudley's toes gave one mighty final flap, and the boys had a most enjoyable evening, indeed.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Busy work!

Since there's not a Hogwarts-wide assignment this week (due to the impending Quidditch match this Saturday!), the Ravenclaw house has been given the first part of a mad-lib: the listing of random words! So in the spirit of fun, here is my list!

1. laugh
2. 12
3. stomach
4. snail
5. house
6. acne
7. fingernail
8. cheerleader
9. goo
11. shoe
12. clothed
13. obsessive compulsive
14. cat
15. strawberry
17. lips
18. bear
19. pizza
20. toes
21. walking
23. jar
24. nose
25. cottage

The end result should be pretty interesting.... ;)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Firenze!!! (part 1)

When I saw the signs for Florence, I immediately thought of our own Fiera Firenze! But Florence was an experience like no other! As I was with a larger group, there was a lot I missed seeing. (Walking en masse with numerous strollers and little ones slows a group down significantly!) And if I had time for more thorough research, I'd have had more places on my list of "must see"! LOL But as it was I was able to see the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella:
Backside of the basilica:

The basilica facade:

An obelisk in the Piazza della Santa Maria Novella:

I also got to see The Duomo (The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore) and it's baptistery (the San Giovanni Baptistery) in the Piazza del Duomo:

The facade of The Duomo:

The San Giovanni Baptistery:

One of the hexagonal panels on Giotto's Campanile (the Duomo's bell tower) depicting the history of mankind (this one is wool-working!):

The interior of the Duomo was breathtaking! There were stained glass windows everywhere, mosaic floors, indescribable paintings and sculptures lining the pictures don't do it justice! But here is the largest of the 44 stained glass windows (that I could see) in the Duomo, a shot of a section of the floor, and the vigil candles:

"Christ crowning Mary as Queen," designed by Gaddo Gaddi

Only one small section of the floor (each section was different!):

I just loved the beauty in the way the had the vigil candles set up:

The best pic I could get of the inside of the dome, since they had the altar roped off (There was the option of climbing 400 stairs to see it up close [see that railing up there?], but the boys wouldn't have made it, so I didn't get to go up):

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Wow! There are so many posts lately that are photo heavy (between the homework assignments and the conjuring study session), and the next few will be no exception!

(On a side note, the lovely Clara Clovenhoof, Slytherin HoH, waited for me to return from my vacation to duel together...and I won!)

So to begin the tales of my latest adventures...the drive to Vinci was long! I was following someone else, so as to not get lost, and it was a little stressful! Between the weekend traffic, the crazy Italian drivers (they drive very fast!), and when we entered the Tuscan region, the curvy roads! I wished I could have been a passenger instead of a driver so that I could have enjoyed the view and taken pictures along the way. That's okay. Maybe next time. ;) (Because I am definitely going back!) It's too bad it was a Muggle resort, otherwise I'd have Apparated there instead! So the whole first day was consumed with the drive and then getting checked in and settled into our apartment (that's right....not hotel room....a villa apartment! Complete with a full kitchen and everything!). That evening we had a local chef come in and cook us a Tuscan meal. (I got a couple of pics of the tasty food, but after the first couple, I was too busy taking care of the boys and eating to continue!!!) Now for the pics:

The view from our kitchen window

The view from the villa's courtyard (I LOVE hillside vineyards!)

The poltergeists splashing their feet in the pool

The appetizer platter

A cheese crepe-ish dish (VERY delish!)

The view from standing outside the front door to our apartment

A Tuscan sunset (I'm thinking this is great inspiration for a dyeing expidition!)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Care of Magical Creatures

Originality marker:

Part 1:

Describe and Explain 5 items that you would use for the care of Magical Creatures.

Mitts (for handling dragon eggs after the mother has breathed on it) with a heavy anti-burn charm on them

Bowtruckle Grabbers (to hold a bowtruckle behind the head after giving it wood lice in order to get wand wood from the tree it is protecting) with a sticky charm on it to prevent the bowtruckle from squirming out from the grip

Nargle Transporter (to capture nargles after spotting them with spectrespecs, and then release them into the wild where they cannot turn witch and wizard brains all fuzzy) with a sealing charm to keep the nargles from escaping prematurely

Pixie Corraler (to knock cornish pixies unconscious in order to move them from one place to another) with a softening charm, so that although they are knocked out, the blow is pillowed to avoid abuse to the creatures, and they feel no pain.

Vertical assistant (to help those, such as gnomes, house elves, and goblins reach higher or to see over tall counters while having something solid under their feet) with an optional levitation charm to reach even higher and then safely return back to solid ground.

Part 2:

1. Please describe the physical appearance of a house elf. House elves are typically scrawny, with ears that are proportionally large and floppy for their little bodies, and have large, bulbous eyes, typically in a yellowish hue. They tend to wear simple garments that look like a pillowcase (which have a habit of getting quite filthy!) as a mark of their enslavement.

2. Kreacher is the house elf of which wizarding family? Kreacher is the House Elf of the Black family, and he was passed on from Sirius to Harry

3. What is Hermione Granger making for the house elves? knitted hats

4. How do you free a house elf? You present it with a piece of clothing (which is why Hermione is making the hats; she intends to free the House Elves of Hogwarts without their knowledge of her having done so)

5. What does S.P.E.W. stand for? The Society for Promotion of Elvish Welfare (or, as in our swap, The Society for Promotion of Excellent Wearables)

Part 3:

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Under the Tuscan Sun!!!

Wow! In less than 24 hours, I will be on my way to the beautiful Italian region of Tuscany!!! True to my Ravenclaw nature, I have researched the area, and there are far too many things to see in the 5 days that we'll be there! (Though Santa Croce is at the top of my list!) I am so very, very excited! Hopefully, the poltergeists will behave themselves and we can all have a great time! (I think it will help that we're taking this trip with other spouses from Mr. Bagnold's squadron that are deployed as well...they know the other kids that are going, already, too!) I can't wait to share all the pictures I will be taking! (And I intend to take MANY!) But before I can dive in to my Tuscany preparations, I must delve into the mundane tasks laundry...But I now have an opportunity to try out my brand new wand!

I'm rather proud of my new wand. :D It's the result of the conjuration study group I had last night with Poppy and Meladia. :D (Here is my wand with the 2 that Mel made...):

Maybe I can get my wand to help me with the folding (as that's what takes the longest in the process of laundry!)...hmmm. Then it's back home to pack the bags and load up the car for the adventure that begins tomorrow!!! I can hardly wait! :D

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Transfiguration and Charms

I'm so excited! I love homework! (Honest!) In fact, I'm so excited that I'm participating in this week's activity, even though I'm the one that assigned it! I even already have 4 of them completed on the first night! (I will be adding more as I complete them.)

Here is my originality marker!:


Animatus Brindilla!


Addica Memorious!

Golden Snitch

Creatorium Snitch!

Hagrid's Rock Cakes

Consumera Terra!

Decoy Detonator

Distractus Mobilia!

Nose-Biting Teacup

Pranksterium Tassa!


Vista Expandium!

Time Turner

Modifica Tempo!