Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Walking Balboa

The youngest shrub in our family decided he wanted a haircut...not a buzz cut (that is easily and for free given in the Busch Brothers Barber Shop) but a real haircut.  Our local barber is close and cheap, meeting two out of two on my list of things a barber should be, so off we went.

And I watched him age in a 10 minute span of time.

He cleans up well.


This morning that guy that I like so much and I grabbed coffees and a really, really bad bagel (big city bagels...years ago they had yummy bagels and now they just don't) which we threw away because life is just too short for a bad bagel and drove ourselves to Balboa Island.  We walked and walked and even walked ourselves onto the ferry for a ride over to Newport where we walked some more. 

It felt to good to be outside because the fact of the matter is, our little house on our little street is kinda dirty right now and no one feels like cleaning it up...sometimes it's just easier to shut the door and walk away.

So that's what we did.


The thing about Balboa is that the whole island is just charming.  Too bad the prices are upwards of 2 million to live in paradise...and seeing as we still have no electricity in part of our house because we can't afford the electrician, well, it doesn't look like we'll be buying anything there anytime soon.

We once lived for 18 months without a furnace or air long can we go without a few lights?  

Supper tonight is baked chicken and a lemon risotto with arugula and a bottle of really good bubbly that's been chilling in the fridge for a month or so...we're celebrating tonight.  Tomorrow that guy that I like so much has to go back to work.  Sigh.  Another summer has come and gone just like that.  Our garden hasn't gotten the message that summer is ending, thankfully...and hopefully won't for a little while longer.



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Not All Together Good

Lately I've been doing that whole 'wake up in the middle of the night worrying about all the stuff I can't control' thing and let me just say, it isn't fun to be me right now.  I'm a nutcase.  Happy one minute, slightly (depending on who you ask) psycho the next.

That being said, my bedroom closet is clean...though my bedroom is a wreck with all the stuff that came out of my closet and I now have no idea what to do with it.  I feel like that is my brain right now too...partly organized, partly disaster.


We took a walk, that guy that I like so much and I,  after spending a morning where nothing went right.  The internet was on the fritz.  A simple light switch change turned us into, well, the Walton's...meaning we now have no power in part of our house.  The microwave decided to stop microwaving.  To top it off, I made a HUGE bowl of perhaps the worst cole slaw you've ever tasted...and that set me over the edge.

Trust me on that's true.

So we walked.  And I complained and he listened and He listened.  I keep imaging God rolling his eyes at my whole freak out attitude (and I do blame genetics...I come from a long line of freaker outers and have passed it on to two of my three children.  Of that I'm proud.) but yet he never does.  


The internet stuff got figured out.  The microwave started microwaving again.  The power in the bathroom (and all our outside lights and nope, not a fuse) is still out...but we have candles.  And a lighter.  No extra money this month, so it will be like this for awhile...which just kind of fits in with the theme of who we are.

75% put together; 25% train wreck.


I did what I do when the going gets tough.  Got the flour out of the pantry and put it in a bowl.  This time...lemon blueberry scones, which were delicious.  Worth the extra few miles I needed to put in after eating one.  I would've loved to have watched them bake in the oven...that's one of my happy things after all, but, wait for it, the oven light is burned out. 

Of course.

Tomorrow is a brand new day.  Thankful for lights my bathroom.


Monday, July 29, 2013

The Hollywood Bowl

I still have so much to write about our vacation, but last week it happened.  Work happened.  Summer is coming to a close...maybe not for crossing guards, but definitely for the whole business that goes into making great crossing guards.  

I'm excited for this year...I really do like my job.

The one big negative?  These shirts that we have to wear at socials that are being held for our start up.  


I bet you want a pepto bismol colored shirt with a big shoe on it, too...don't ya?

Last Thursday that guy that I like so much and I headed to Hollywood for a concert.  I had scored some cheap tickets on Groupon, we ordered a picnic box to be picked up there and we left home all relaxed and smiley.

And then sat in hours of traffic....welcome to life in southern California.  There's gotta be a price for living in an area with perfect weather year round...and traffic is definitely a big price.  Thankfully we don't have to deal with it on a regular basis...everything we need is local to us, but occasionally?  Traffic.

Once we got to the Hollywood Bowl, though, we entered paradise.  An amazing picnic was waiting for us and we slowly forgot all the cares of the world as the sun began to set. 

Lovely.  Absolutely lovely.

The concert was one that is special to us...Resphigi's Pines of Rome.  Years and years ago we took our three young boys to Europe for 3 months, spending the majority of that time driving all over Italy.  Towards the end of our trip we spent a day at the Villa Borghese, playing soccer, rowing a boat on the lake, eating proscuitto sandwiches and listening to the Pines of Rome on our walkman while playing amongst those beautiful old trees.

It was the kind of day that we'll never forget.


It was fun to finally hear it performed live.  

Thank you, Groupon.  


After the concert we needed a snack for the way home so we headed for Pink's, which even at midnight was packed.  Pinks has the best hot dogs and their onion rings are out of this world great.  

Totally worth the heartburn the next day.


Coming home was interesting as both major freeways were shut down, so we ended up detouring and seeing lots of interesting places...the kind of places where you double check to make sure your doors are locked.  Not that I remember any of it...I fell asleep and woke up once we were almost home.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Home To My Garden

Yesterday I had a work meeting.


A long work meeting...and I was then sent home with a PILE of work to do.  My job is changing (evolving?) even more this'll be even more management of a newly in place team (that I got to choose...hooray!) and I am really excited, but start up is going to be a bear.  And start up starts

Double, double sigh.

 BUT...summer is still holding on a bit, too.  Last night that guy that I like so much and I made homemade pasta (it's kinda a two person job) and homemade pesto and homemade b├ęchamel and turned it all into the most fabulous pesto lasagna on the planet.

Even more fabulous?  Our little garden...and then the fact that Alex's friends began trickling in (makes me SO happy!) and ended up eating with us.  The result is that there isn't even one little crumb left for lunch today...but who cares.  We loved it; they loved it.  

Can't wait to make it again!

Today...well, it's 10:30am and I'm still sipping coffee with amaretto creamer, in my p's, with absolutely no rush to begin my day.  I'll take it.  Still trying to figure out tonights supper...I almost want to make another pesto lasagne just so I can have it again!  Plans for today?  Tackling my closet.  It's in need of big clean out and today is the day.  Next week is pantry week and that is going to be a BIG project...anyone handy with a hammer?  I'll feed ya in exchange!!!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Vacay, Part Uno

Our little family has had many, many fun adventures together...I mean, life with these three is a daily adventure.  Because of 'real life' stuff, we haven't taken many family vacations...mainly because our real life has always involved following our boys to their activities (drum corps competitions, basketball tournaments) and those have been our 'vacations'.

And then they started growing up.  One moved away, another began working full when the opportunity arose for FOUR WHOLE DAYS, well, we ran with it.

Or flew to it.

We chose to 'go home'...or where our life as a family began.  Boulder, Colorado...the beginning of it all.


We planned tons of 'boy friendly' stuff for our crew.  Stop one...a tour of Mile High Stadium.  We've raised a bunch of Bronco's fans, so to see where they play (and see those Super Bowl rings) was pretty cool.

We ate well.  Very, very well.

And then the highlight...reuniting this crew.  Introducing Team Wersch.  We've prayed for a wedding, but are ending up with a bunch of kids who love each other like family...and that's ok.  I guess.


 Chris and Tammy were our upstairs neighbors in Family Housing at CU Boulder (where we spent 7 years) and I LOVE them.  Like really, really LOVE them.  Always have, always will.  They knew us at that time in life when life was so full of money, babies without health insurance, not knowing where we would end up.  They knew us 'when'.  

Chris smoked pounds and pounds of meat for us, let Alex eat first, and made killer mojitos.  

Plus...he's hot.


Back to the boy adventures....white water rafting.  Yes, I did it.  No, I'll never do it again.  Yes, it was fun...especially the part where we got stuck on a rock and had to climb out of our raft onto a boulder in the middle of a raging river.  Yeah, totally fun.

Family bonding.  

Next trip...we're going to a spa, boys.  With fluffy bathrobes and yummy smelling lotions and cucumber water.  


We lived in Colorado in married student housing back then, moving in when we were pregnant with Matthew.  We lived in #105; Chris and Tammy moved into #205.  I loved Tammy immediately, while hating her at the same time.  She's just...great.  Beautiful on the inside and out and she immediately became 'my people'.  

And she still is.  And always will be.

I am blessed.


The young people:

The 'not as young as we used to be but still pretending to be young' people:

 We visited all of that guy that I like so much's the music library, where Alex had us rolling on the floor.  Stories that wouldn't have been funny a few years back but are the fact that he never once stepped foot in the library at his high school, but he sure did know where the front office was.

Feel my pain???  

So fun to be 'on the other side'.


This time, with all my boys together, was worth every. single. penny.

More to come...still sorting through hundreds of pictures.  


Monday, July 22, 2013

Back to Reality

We're all (well, almost all of us is continuing his travels for the next month) back in the same time zone and it feels...good.  Home is always good.  At the same time, I've come to realize that my heart belongs in many, many places and while it feels good to be home, it also feels a bit sad.

A good sad, though...if that makes sense.  A happy sad.  The kind of sad where you know you've just had a really, really, REALLY great vacation and you couldn't have asked for it to go any better than what it was.

Happy, happy memories.


I'm downloading pictures now...and laughing.  And crying.  And laughing some more.  Lots of pictures to come...but first?  I've got some laundry to do.  And food to shop for.  And a royal baby to wait for.

I know, I know...priorities.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Summer Vacation

I have a love/hate relationship with technology.  I'm thankful my boys grew up without it...or more importantly, that they grew up without a mom who had a cell phone in her hand 24/7...but I sure do enjoy it now.  

Can't get the answers you want via text message?  FaceTime is the next best thing, especially if they happen to be in a different state.


My oldest?  He makes me laugh.  FYI...Santa's pockets aren't that deep, Matteo.

But good try.

=0) there ANYTHING better than a tomato, picked warm from the afternoon sun right off the vine?  Drizzle it with a little olive oil and all is well in the world.

Can we bottle that?

We had our nephew here for some boy time (he has 3 sisters) and boy time is what he got.  Basketball with Brian, weight lifting with Alex, a late night ice cream run in a convertible.  Fun to spoil (and bend the bedtime rules) with someone else's child.


The weather has been so strange here...that guy that I like so much keeps saying it's tornado weather; however, we no longer live in tornado country.  It's just...weird.  Last night we were eating supper in the garden and it started to sprinkle...just a few big, warm raindrops before the sky turned a vibrant pink.

It's been beautiful.  Humid and a bit gray during the day...but beautiful.

It's Friday...and it feels like Friday.  For the first time in a while I woke up to my alarm...had to print boarding passes early this morning.  Gotta love Southwest Airlines (and I really do) and their 'no assigned seats' policy but hey, they don't charge for checked bags.  We're heading out tomorrow for a family adventure...a family of FIVE adventure.  It's been a long, long time and while it'll be short, we're packing a lot of fun stuff into this getaway.  

I'm SO excited, but as the only girl I'll need a spa day when it's done.  


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Making Ravioli

Our garden has had two nights of rest following a long stretch of really, really fun parties...which ended up with really, really tired owners.


So, on night two of rest and feeling, well, rested...we decided to tackle some homemade ravioli.

I'm up to speed in bread making and have even felt like my pasta making skills are pretty good...but ravioli?  Well, it's a two person job.  

You make the pasta.  You make the filling.  You drink a little wine.  You roll the pasta.  You put it in the fancy mold you got for Christmas.  You drink a little more wine. You fill the pasta.  You learn, after the first batch, that there's no such thing as too much flour.

You drink even more wine.

Oh, and in an effort to clean out your fridge before a vacation, you start adding things to your menu...things like some leftover pizza dough that you douse with olive oil and rosemary and throw on the grill.

And shed a tear or two at how great it tastes.  Seriously.

Some leftover gravy, a table full of boys (and an extra girl!!!) and there you have it.  What was supposed to be a normal Tuesday became something not so normal.

Next on the summer list?  Gnocchi.  Also on the summer list?  Exercise.


I'm by no means an expert in ravioli making, but I have a pasta recipe that I have been using over and over.  I quadruple this recipe every time I make it.

Homemade Pasta:
3/4 cup flour
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt

Put flour on the counter and make a well in it.  Add egg and salt in the middle and using your hands, mix in the flour a little at a time.  Knead until smooth, adding a little water (or flour) if necessary.  Let rest on the counter, covered with a bowl, for 30 minutes.  Roll out (making sure to use plenty of flour to prevent sticking) and cut as desired.  Cook in salted, boiling water for 3-4 minutes.

Ravioli filling:
1 cup ricotta
1 egg
1/4 cup fresh parmesan
1/2 tsp dried basil
salt and pepper, to taste

Mix all together.  Use as a filling for ravioli or manicotti or lasagne.

For ravioli, we used a hand crank pasta machine and rolled the dough to #6, filled the dough using a mold and boiled for 5 minutes.  They were all eaten in half that time...but so worth it!


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