Friday, June 29, 2012

Pasta e Fagioli

Lunch at Cheesecake Factory with a non-cheesecake-loving friend.  A blessing in disguise...their apple crisp (of which we each only had a few bites!) is divine.  DIVINE.

The Phoenix Club...a German heritage club in Anaheim where tons of european soccer watching, wienerschnitzel eating, rowdy and passionate about their home team boys gather to watch the games.

My boys love to go and if Italy is playing I try and join's crazy loud and fun, though they get quiet when Italy wins.

I don't.


Supper on a warm evening when I had a whole 30 minutes to get supper on the table before the males in my house started to gnaw on the walls....forgive me for scheduling a 4:30 hair appointment, people.

BLT's with our very own tomatoes and a pot of pasta e fagioli, which made just enough for me to have a bowl for lunch today.  I keep looking at the it time yet?  It's THAT good.

I have an issue with See's 'I love you and can't live without you issue.'

It's 'a happy habit'...see?  The box says so and who am I to argue?


We sure do go through a lot of candles around these parts.  LOTS.  Behind the candles?  I dumpster dived a wooden pallet which I am going to use for a craft project.

Are you laughing at me yet...that guy that I like so much is.

I'm so not crafty, but...well, it's summertime and I am going to try.  Maybe.


It's Friday and I've crammed so much into this week already...this weekend is an engagement party, a drum corps show, lunch with a crowd of basketball boys  (here) and church.

And maybe, just maybe, a snooze in the warm summer sun.


Pasta e Fagioli

1/2 an onion, chopped
3 slices bacon, chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed
a bay leaf and if you are feeling risqué, a sprig of rosemary
1 8oz can tomato sauce (or leave out for white sauce and add an extra cup of broth)
5 cups chicken broth (I used 5 C water and 5 bouillon cubes because that's what I had)
2 cans cannelini, great northern, pinto, cecci, any-kind-at-all (as long as they are white) beans,  drained and rinsed
1/2 lb small pasta
grated parmesan cheese, optional

Saute onion and bacon until onion is softened.  Add in garlic and cook for an another minute.  Add bay leaf (rosemary if using), tomato sauce, broth and beans...heat to boiling.  Stir in pasta and cook until pasta is al dente, 10 minutes or so.  Season with salt and pepper, if needed...will depend on how salty your broth is.  Serve with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top, if desired.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Timeless Friends

Our little garden is slowly being reintroduced to summertime life...not that it was completely asleep over the winter, but the evenings are a bit warmer so we are spending more and more time enjoying the nighttimes out there.  The older we get, the more we love what that little garden represents...the simplicity and the chance to step away and spend time with people we love in a non fussy, quiet, serene place.

Last night our friends from afar (ok...they live like 3 blocks away, but it seems afar!) wandered over after supper and we spent the evening in the garden, drinking wine and catching up to date on life.  I love friendships that stand up to time...the kind of friendships where you don't have to stress about whether or not they'll be upset that you haven't called them for a year but embrace and get excited when you finally did pick up the phone.

No guilt kind of friendships are the best.


We met when our kids were young and so were we....somehow they've stayed young and we haven't.  Must be the aloe they drink out of shot glasses every day...note to self:  buy aloe and guzzle it down.


I am slowly settling into the new normal for our little house on our little street...a normal that involves having two adult children living at home.  I'm trying to be cool with letting them just be...with not peppering them with questions about every little thing they are doing and who they'll be with and where they'll be.  

And I'm failing miserably.  


How do you just stop being a mama bear just because they've decided to grow up?  I was seriously just getting used to this whole parenting of teens bit and now the rules are being changed yet again.  

Ah well...we still have one more coming up in rank, so the fun continues!

So far, summer and I are getting to be real good I was ever worried that would happen?


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summer Joy

Dear Summer Vacation,

I love you...please don't ever end.



I have crammed as much as possible into this week...some fun, some just necessary, with the hopes of just getting much of it out of the way.

We've been to dr.'s and dentists and colleges and camps and lunches with some friends and happy hours with others and cleaned out lots of nooks and crannies finding lots of of nifty things along the a big 'ole wasps nest on top of the outside freezer.

And it's only Wednesday of Week 1.

Next up?  Work my way through the 1,000 email messages in my in box that I saved as new until I had time to respond.  Ouch.

But guess what?

I have time now.


I also took a pile of cookbooks and tagged all sorts of new recipes to try over the summer.

The tomatoes are all ripening at record pace...I've been craving an old fashioned BLT.  You know the kind...the kind with soft white bread and full fat mayo eaten while leaning over the sink.

Those are the best kinds of BLT's.

My poor kitty loves to nap in the summer sun but keeps rolling off the table while she sleeps...sad, but also funny.  And it's true...cats always do land on their feet.


After bible study last night, my vegan girlfriends berry crisp.

One word...YUM.

A few of us are working our way through the study 'Choose Joy''s not a page turner, but there are lots of little nuggets of gold in there that I love.  Things like the tone of Jesus' voice as he was we read it as flat but it was really laced with humor and kindness, which I hadn't ever really thought about it.

Today is full...lunch with a friend I haven't seen in forever and then a small garden party here (after supper) with other friends we haven't seen in...well, forever.   In between?  Lots of laundry.

Lots and lots and lots of laundry.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Weekend Whirlwind

I am thinking...well, I don't really know what I am thinking.

I am just tooooo tired.

I pretty much feel like our server at Maggiano's thought we were pulling his leg when we told him we were celebrating three graduations, an anniversary and a birthday...I mean, how many events can you cram into one weeks time?

Emotional rollercoaster.

My inlays came to town this weekend and we did lots of big family stuff, including a barbie at the lagoon.

Everytime I think of how expensive it is to live where I live, I just need to walk down the street to the lake and put my toes in that soft, warm truly is paradise, minus all the rules and regulations.  


The weather was gorgeous, the food was yummy and the boys were...tired.

All that graduating is hard work.

Other weekend happenings...back to our home church.  A big family dinner in the garden.  A quiet Saturday morning.  A sale at Bath and Body Works.  A homemade carrot cake with cream cheese icing.  A library that lets me check out free ebooks.  

Today is the first day of summer vacation.  I've been waiting, not so patiently at times, and it's finally here.

And I'm jumping for joy.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Major Life Events

I can't even begin to explain what this week has been like...other than to just say 'wow'.

Wednesday, while sitting in a football stadium, Pomp and Circumstance began to play.  Normally, it makes me teary eyed but this week?  The flood gates opened.

This diploma?  Well, blood, sweat and tears were involved.  And maybe some hair pulling and arm twisting, too.  Schooling this boy has been....a journey.


It was super easy to spot Alex among the sea of red....if you looked down.  This boy of mine continues to march to his own drum and I pray with all my might that he continues to for the rest of his life. 

 It makes him who he is!!!

These boys...besties since kindergarten.


After graduation (and we stayed was so much fun!) we grabbed a quick dinner because Alex and I had to be back at Grad Night.

I worked the bag room, which meant the crew I was on had to organize and keep track of close to 500 bags...think old fashioned coat check and you'll get the idea.

Sweatshirts in.  Sweatshirts out.  Prizes in. Etc, etc, etc.  Definitely got my exercise going back and forth and back and forth!

The crew?  The Varsity basketball moms!  Our shift was until take an already punchy group of moms, add in the emotional exhaustion of graduation, a broken coffee maker, a late, late night and what do you get?


And lots of it.

Grad Night was the most incredible thing I have ever seen...a full on carnival (complete with food trucks!), a casino, movie theater/lounge, dance floor and games galore.  Wow.  I was absolutely floored...and the kids had such an amazing time!

The next morning...graduation #3.  Safe to say Brian's cheering section was the loudest, thanks to two older brothers who went a little, uh, crazy.

As usual, everyone knew the BuschBoyz were in the house.


My motley crew...all moving on to new adventures.

Matthew will begin his Masters in music performance/conducting in the Fall, Brian is heading to high school and Alex is starting the fire academy in August.  

They are all so different but love, love, love each other and have so much fun together...and to be honest, that is one of my greatest joys.  

Oh, and to top it off?  Yesterday was our wedding anniversary as well...though that was sort of on the back burner.  Not in a bad way, but these celebrations were about the trio above.

They're worth it.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Passage of Time

I'm having one of those 2nd quess-y sort of mornings and the chilly, grey weather isn't helping that much.  

(June gloom at The Camp)

When we first moved here years and years ago with our two little boys (no BriBear yet...strange, as I can't even remember a time when he wasn't a part of us) we were blessed to be welcomed into a group of friends.  They were different from friends we had had in the past...not bad different, but different nonetheless.  Or so I thought, anyway...but it turns out they really were just the same.

Friends are just friends.
(breakfast at The Old Vine Cafe.  heaven.)

Lots and lots of years involved lots and lots of trips and parties and hanging out on weekends and weeknights and pretty much anytime we could all make it work.  It was a fun and happy time and I will always be thankful for that time...that time when I was struggling so much with the friends I had left behind in Colorado and struggling to find my place in this strange land called southern California.
(maggie's new spot, hidden in my closet.)

But over the years, as sometimes happens, we all began to drift apart.  I can't even tell you how it wasn't a major event or happening, but probably began with the missing of one weekend or another and that soon became two weekends and then three and so on and so on.

Our kids were growing and I know for us, for my little family, our friend circle grew (and was soon taken over by, in a good way) to include our boys friends and their parents.  Our social life became all about soccer games and band competitions and drum corps and basketball.  
(grilled pizzas.  my favorite summer meal.)

One of the family's in our old friend group is celebrating a major life event in their lives, a wedding, and we were invited.  I was so excited to be included and wanted to go, but of course as life would have it,  we can't and I am a bit bummed about it.  I just popped a note in the mail to them, a card, thanking them for the invitation.

I wanted to write more than I did.  I wanted to thank them for their friendship years ago....for welcoming us in with open arms, for letting me borrow an onion, for partying with us so late at night that we watched the sunrise and made waffles the next morning.  For telling me to 'shut the hell up' when I had sung one too many show tunes during a game of cards, for baptizing my baby in such a loving and gentle way, for introducing me to one of my best friends.
(Baby Brian before his 8th grade dance.)

Instead, I simply wrote a thank you for the invite because I thought they might think I am weird.  Maybe all those special times were only special to me...and maybe it's not something they ever think back on.  Or maybe they do?  So as I sat writing out the card, I couldn't help but 2nd guess myself...and in the end ended up saying none of those things that I wanted to.

But I will always, always be thankful for that time in our lives...and I hope they know that.  

Monday, June 18, 2012

Just a Bunch of Weekend Stuff

Friday night, after we had eaten supper and washed (by hand, thanks to the fact that my dishwasher is broken until Tuesday) the dishes and had just settled into the backyard, our neighbors popped over with a bowl of apricots fresh picked from their tree.

Wine, a heat lamp, really great tunes (oh my...we have the BEST music mixes) and lots of was just a really great way to end what had been a really crazy week.

Saturday morning I drove Brian to basketball practice at 7:00am (yeah, I know.  on a Saturday, too.), went to the gym and made friends again with the elliptical machine (nursing a shoulder issue, sigh.) and came home and made breakfast...a real breakfast involving hash browns and eggs and bacon.  

All before 9:00am.

So much for sleeping in.

We then did all the house stuff that needed to be done and ran errands that needed to be run and afternoon in the sun with a really good read.

And an ice pack for my not so happy shoulder.


Saturday evening...the 8th grade dance for Brian, Matthew was at a drum corps show and Alex (whose last day of school was Friday) was in and out with his crew of friends.  We grilled pizzas and shared a bottle of wine and broke out the cribbage board for the first time since last summer.

Does that mean it's here?  Summer, that is?

One.  More.  Week.

Sunday followed by presents for the dad, picked out by his boys, and a gourmet lunch involving bread and meat and served on a plate by a smiling wife. 

What more could a man possible need for Father's Day?


More supper was short ribs cooked low and slow all afternoon making the house smell incredible.  

He was also given control of the remote, though once his eyes closed the channel was changed.  Just sayin'.  An evening wii battle of tennis with his boys rounded out the evening (on our new from ebay wii) and I'm thinking it was a nice Father's Day for that guy that I like so much.

These boys of mine are blessed...blessed to have a Dad who not just loves them, but models what a God centered man should be.  He doesn't just preach it...he lives it.

They don't see it yet...they just see their Dad.  The guy who drives and cheers and lectures.  But someday...someday they will.  

Happy Father's Day.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Party at the Pool

Yesterday my neighbor had a little pool party in celebration of her daughters graduation/ 18th birthday.

It was sunny and warm and the food was yummy (gotta love any party that features a taco cart) and the people were lovely.

And in every picture I took, there was a little Brian head somewhere.  


My baby...he's growing up.  He still does things that I drive me crazy, like telling us (as we sat down to eat our amazing al pastor tacos, one of my favorite things in the world to eat) that he had a band concert that night.


"oh...didn't I give you that note?  I must've forgotten..."

Good thing we like him because I was very annoyed.

In turn, Matthew spent the afternoon allowing us to annoy him thoroughly...which I guess is more tolerable when sitting outside in the sunshine next to a taco cart.

But why is it my boys cannot keep their hands off of each other?  That guy that I like so much, who used to perform the fatherly shoulder squeeze...(the squeeze of death, the boys used to say.  You know the one...the silent 'if you don't stop touching each other I am gonna take you to the car and let you have it' squeeze?) just rolls his eyes now and shrugs his shoulders.

Probably because they are all taller than him now and all he has to mutter very,very quietly under his breath are the words 'I own your car'.

Effective...and true.


Brats.  Each one of them.  But cute, too.


So then we headed to our very last middle school band concert EVER where I spent close to two hours praying that shark on the wall would jump down and swallow me up.  

Oh come've thought the same thoughts at times before.

Home to watch another super hero movie...that guy that I like so much is in total summer mode and I am tagging along because I don't want to be left out, but let me tell you, late nights followed by 6:00am wake ups are making me yawny. 

7 more work days for me...I think I can do it!


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