Monday, July 30, 2012

Pasta Carbonara

I saw this recipe on Pioneer Woman  this week. The next time I went to the grocery store, I grabbed the ingredients to make it. It was something different for us. The dish was pretty easy to make and tasty to eat. My only complaint was that the pasta cooled off quite quickly. We all wanted to microwave our dinner after about two bites.

Pasta Carbonara
12 ounces pasta
8 pieces thick cut bacon, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 whole eggs
3/4 c. finely grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 c. heavy cream
salt and pepper
1/2 cup peas

Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, fry bacon until barely crisp. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Pour off all bacon grease, but don't clean pan. Return pan to stove over medium-low heat and cook onions and garlic until golden brown. Set aside.

In a bowl, mix together eggs, cheese, cream, salt and pepper until smooth. When pasta is done, reserve a cup or two of the water. Drain pasta and place it in a large bowl. While the pasta is still really hot, slowly drizzle in the egg mixture, stirring the pasta the whole time. The sauce will become thick and should coat the pasta. Splash in a little hot pasta water if needed for consistency.

Halfway through, add the peas, bacon and sauteed onion/garlic. Finish adding the sauce, stirring until all combined.  Serve immediately with extra Parmesan.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saturday in the Park

Daniel's internship will end in a couple of weeks. He will miss all the friends he's made this summer. They did a lot of fun things on the weekends. They made a day trip to Chicago and posed in front of the Cloud Gate sculpture, a.k.a. "The Bean" in Millennium Park.

The real reason they went to Chicago was to eat at the Taste of Chicago food festival.

They had time to explore the city a little bit.

Last stop: the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mind Over Matter?

I've never heard of anyone recovering from wisdom teeth extraction the way Peter did. An hour after surgery, we were home, and he made himself a smoothie. He took his pain pill and sat on the couch. We watched our last episode of Downton Abbey along with an array of other shows and movies. Every once in awhile, he would get up and get some applesauce or yogurt or other soft food. He stayed up until midnight then went to bed.

The next day, he had a smoothie for breakfast and SpaghettiOs for lunch. At dinner time, five of his friends came over to swim in the pool. He was right in there with them. I grilled hamburgers and hot dogs. Peter had a hot dog. His doctor called that evening to see how he was doing. I told him there was no need to worry.

This kid did not skip a beat. Was it mind over matter? Or was it the Pineapple he ate?

His friend, Jen, told him to eat a whole pineapple the night before surgery. It was guaranteed to keep the swelling under control. I thought she was pulling his leg. Peter said Jen never lies. So he ate 1/3 of the pineapple straight. He put another 1/3 in the blender and made a smoothie. He saved the last third for his after surgery drink.

We'll never know if it was the pineapple's anti-inflammatory properties or the doctor's skilled hand. I would recommend both. All four of his wisdom teeth were impacted, so I think his recovery qualifies as a miracle before my eyes.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Dog's Life

Do you ever wonder what your dog does when you are away from home?

I know what Riley does. He hops up onto the easy chair and uses the remote control to watch his favorite show on TV.

Just kidding about the remote, but he does relax in the easy chair. I found this out because he's been kind of lazy lately.

Instead of greeting us at the door, he just stays put. I think it has something to do with his bum leg. He doesn't like jumping off the chair in a hurry. What a life.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Next week, Peter will be traveling to Zanesville, Ohio with the CVCA golf team. He was invited back as an alumni golfer. They will play 36 holes of golf at the Eagle Sticks course on Tuesday and 36 holes on the Longaberger course on Wednesday.

So I asked him if he knew what Zanesville was famous for. The first thing that came to his mind was the zoo animal massacre that took place in 2011. I guess it's famous for that now, but when I was growing up, Zanesville was famous for its Y-Bridge. This bridge is the only bridge in the world you can cross and still be  on the same side of the river you started on.

During my childhood, our family only went on one vacation. I was around ten years old. My dad rented a pop-up camper, and we drove to Zanesville, Ohio. He wanted to see the Y-Bridge. My dad helped build bridges for Ruhlin Construction company, so he was interested in them.

I can't say I have vivid memories of actually seeing the Y-bridge back in 1969. It wasn't on the top of my list of things to see. I do remember the excitement of going on a vacation with my family, and sleeping in a camper for several nights was a highlight of my early years.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Change of Plans

It was a very difficult decision to make. Once the wedding train takes off from the station, putting the brakes on can take all the strength one can muster.

Katherine and Josh will not be married as planned on August 11. Maybe someday in the future they will be, when they are both ready for a lifetime commitment. We love them both, and know that God's plans for their future are the best plans we could ask for.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Riley's Vocabulary

Katherine once saw a bumper sticker in Chicago that said, "My Sheltie is smarter than your honor student." We both got a kick out of that. I don't know if he's that smart, but Riley knows as many words as the average toddler.

Here is a sample of the words Riley recognizes:

Come, sit, stay, shake, lay down, roll over, dinner, nummies, cookie, treat, chewy, walk, mailbox, no, don't jump, tummy, tape, crate, pool, chicken, banana, squirrel, raccoon, chipmunk, who's here?, daddy, mommy, Katherine, bye-bye, red ball, blue ball, outside, upstairs, downstairs, car, walk, good boy, potty, night-night, shower.

That's 40 words I could think of off the top of my head. When I say he knows these words, I mean he takes action when he hears them. If I tell him I'm going downstairs, he runs to the basement door. If I tell him it's time to go night-night, he follows me upstairs and curls up under his bench at the foot of our bed. If I say "crate", he runs to his crate, pushes the door open with his nose and runs in, waiting for a treat. If all three of Riley's balls are downstairs and he is upstairs, Don can tell Riley to go get the red ball, and he will come back with the right one!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Fast and Furious Organizing

When I'm stressed out, I clean and organize. This book, The Fast and Furious 5 Step Organizing Solution by Susan Pinsky, has some of the best de-cluttering advice I've ever read. The author won't let you make any excuses for holding onto unnecessary things. Her definition for clutter is: anything you want but don't need.

In order to use her method, you must be willing to let go of:

1. Things you are holding onto because you might need them someday.
2. Things you keep because they are still in the package or they were very expensive when you purchased them.
3. Gifts you received but don't use.
4. Mementos and family heirlooms that are just taking up space.

Her golden rule is: your inventory must conform to your storage space. In other words, if you assign one dresser drawer for sweaters, you may only keep the amount of sweaters that fit in that drawer. If you have five book shelves, you may keep only the number of books that will fit on those shelves. All else must exit your home.

Tips to keep clutter from re-entering your home once you have organized:

1. Avoid taking items just because they are free.
2. Only buy what you absolutely need.
3. Don't window shop.
4. Don't go to garage sales.
5. Don't store other people's belongings in your house.
6. Don't bulk shop.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


My baby boy turned eighteen today. His friend, Ben, came over to help him celebrate. They played a game of chess. Not at all like the parties of yore.

My parenting days are over. All the kids are adults.

I know better than that! They still need me, and I hope they always will.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Andrea Rose Teodosio 5K

Peter ran in his second 5K this morning. We were there bright and early with 1,000 other runners. This was the second annual Andrea Rose Teodosio 5K which took place at Lock 3 in Akron.

Andrea Teodosio graduated from Walsh High School and John Carroll University. She was 22 years old when she died in a skiing accident on Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia in 2011. Her family began the race last year as a fundraiser in her memory.

As the runners waited at the starting line, they were serenaded to the tune of "Speak Softly Love" on the accordion. The annual Italian-American festival was also going on in the surrounding area.

Peter finished the race in just over 22 minutes. Congratulations Peter!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Note to Self #2

Be unshakable.

If I let it, uncertainty can really shake me up. I like to know what's ahead. I like to know the plan. But that's not always possible. Unexpected things happen.

So how can I be unshakable? Trust that God has everything under control. Know that he won't let anything happen that's not in his plan. His plan is best. He knows what he's doing.

"I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken."
-Psalm 16:8

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Kitchen Before & After

Katherine and I went to Indiana to paint for three days. We got to check out the progress the guys have been making. The kitchen looks fabulous! Here are the before and after photos.



Monday, July 9, 2012

Soakin' Up the Sun

Riley's been enjoying the sunshine lately. If only he could take off his fur coat! It's a little warm when the thermometer hits 95 degrees.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Advice to Newlyweds

Josh and Katherine will be married five weeks from today. I keep telling myself that no matter what doesn't get done before that time, the wedding will go on, and they will be married at the end of the day. What is important is not August 11, 2012. It is the 50 years that follow.

Here is my advice to them. It's good advice to anyone who has said the words "I DO".

1.  There's no expiration date until one of you expires.
Marriage is a lifetime commitment. Don't panic when three days after you return from your honeymoon you realize your spouse has a major flaw you never noticed before. We all have them, including you. Accept the little annoyances and work through the bigger ones. He may lose his job, his mind, or a limb. But he'll always have you.

2.  Don't rely on mind reading for communication.
The silent treatment gets you nowhere. If you have a problem, spit it out in a nice way. Tell your spouse what is bothering you instead of hoping he will figure it out on his own. He's not that smart, and neither are you.

3.  Respect each other.
Never speak poorly about your spouse to anyone except a therapist. When in public, tell others about your mate's best qualities, especially if he is within earshot. It brings out the best in people to know they are thought well of. This is particularly important to men. Respect his judgment and his decisions.

4. Love her, love her, love her.
Hold the door open, walk beside her, tell her she's the most beautiful woman in the room. Make sure she knows you adore her.

5. Don't become a bore.
No one enjoys being married to a bump on a log unless one is also a bump on a log himself. Be adventurous. Do things you don't want to do. Go camping, learn to golf, watch baseball games. Go shopping, take dance lessons, clap at the theater.

I'm sure there is more advice than this, but I will stop here for tonight.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fourth of July

Daniel invited a few of his intern friends over to our rental home for dinner last night. Guess what we served! King Salmon, of course. We didn't even make a dent in our stash.

It was Josh's birthday, so we had cake for dessert.

Then we all went down to the beach. Peter got a fire going. 

We sat around the fire (even though it was 95 degrees outside) until it got dark. Then Josh and Peter entertained us with a fireworks show.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

King Salmon

I sent the family out this morning to catch some dinner. They ended up catching enough dinner for all our family and friends from now until Christmas. I stayed home since I have a particular aversion to sea sickness.

They had to be at the dock at 6 a.m.  They fished until 1p.m. Peter caught the first fish in about 3 seconds. They could have come home right then and there.

This salmon was more than enough for the six of us.

Josh caught a few.

Katherine caught a couple.

Daniel caught a few.

Peter caught some more...and so did Don. By the time they were through, they had 13 fish. Most of them were King Salmon. A couple were trout.

The fishermen were nice enough to fillet all these beauties. We went home with over 50 large fillets. When we get home tomorrow, we'll be handing them out on the corner.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

R & R

Peter found a nice spot to hang his hammock.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Kal-Haven Trail

It was 92 degrees today, so we decided to take a bike ride in the middle of the day. Whose ideas was this? Don says it was mine. I guess he is right. I wasn't thinking.

The Kal-Haven trail is a 33.5 mile trail connecting Kalamazoo and South Haven. We biked 11 miles to a stop called Grand Junction where there was a nice picnic table in the shade and a water pump. There was also a bathroom, but it was scary. We ate our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and apple slices before heading back 11 miles.

Josh thought this pump was the most exciting part of the bike ride.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sunset on Lake Michigan

Day is done, gone the sun

From the lakes, from the hills, from the sky

All is well, safely rest

God is nigh.

- lyrics from "Taps"
- photos by Josh Ruiz