Helping College Student Study in South Africa

Wildlife Study Abroad for Vet Student

Today I received a notice that a long time friend and former classmate of my college age son’s is looking to raise funds for a study abroad trip to South Africa. I immediately went to the site and contributed to this young woman’s fund. She was an International Baccalaureate Graduate and honor student and she wants to pursue a degree in Veterinary Medicine from Kansas State University. If you love animals, college students, want to help please click the link above and pass it on to your friends! Thank you so much!

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Pasta Carbonara (A Midwestern Hybrid)

This is my kind of meal! Love it!


I melt for this pasta.  I always have.

As a kid I grew up on heavy, roux laden Fettuccini Alfredo.  It was the rigor of the day and it was served everywhere and with everything mixed into the noodles, from shrimp to broccoli.  Unfortunately, and even though it was a childhood favorite, cream based pastas in the Midwest were bad, no, they were awful.

Fettucini Alfredo in the Midwest became a Parmesan cream with noodles.  Sometimes more soup then pasta.  The Italian heritage of the dish suddenly was nowhere to be found.  Alfredo in Italy is simply a pasta of butter and Parmesan cheese much like carbonara but without using egg yolks as an emulsifier.  When the noodles are hot out of the cooking water butter and parmesan are tossed with the pasta and melt into a beautiful, silky coat for each noodle.  Fettuccini Alfredo in its Italian form has…

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Prosciutto Pear Wraps

This is a perfect appetizer! I got the recipe from my friend, Sally, several years ago and I still love making it! A+ for presentation and taste!

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This is a simple, fresh appetizer that I’ve been making for years.  I believe I found the recipe in an INStyle Magazine — many years ago.  I always make this for our annual Christmas party.  It’s such a nice combination of flavors.

Prosciutto Pear Wraps

Makes about 60 pieces

1/3 lb. thinly sliced prosciutto, cut in long narrow strips

6 ripe pears, cored and sliced 1/2 inch thick

2 packages softened herb cheese (Boursin)

120 arugula leaves

Place a slice of prosciutto on work surface.  Top with a pear slice, a small dollop of cheese and 1 or 2 arugula leaves.  Wrap prosciutto around until secure.  Serve immediately.

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The Final Countdown – Sending the Firstborn off to College

It’s almost here. Time to send the oldest to College. As the date of departure moves closer, its evident that he is REALLY ready to leave the old proverbial nest. I cannot ask a question about anything without being told that I am being nosey. Ugh.I have become my own mother. I love her. Really, I do but I so remember thinking how glad I was to finally be on my own when I left for college. It’s hard though. I have been the helicopter mom for so long. I am making every effort to let him handle every detail but  the unknown is making me crazy. It doesn’t help that with social media I can literally find out a lot about his new roommate and jump to all sorts of wild conclusions before we’ve ever even met him.I may have to get off Facebook and Twitter to save my own sanity. My son is awesome, smart, talented and makes good decisions. Now I just have to let him do just that.

Recent Redbox Rentals

Because I need a distraction from the fact that my oldest son is graduating from High School in 11 days, I have been renting movies from Redbox the past couple of nights. The first was Wild. Reese Witherspoon gives a good performance in the lead role and the screenplay was written by Nick Hornby. Very good “true life” story.

So when I took the film back to Redbox, I noticed Birdman was available. Checked it out. I believe it won best picture this year. Suprisingly good for a darker comedy. Really liked Michael Keaton, Edward Norton and Emma Stone. All gave really good performances. My husband and I really liked it a lot. I didn’t know too much about either film and they both get “Two Thumbs Up”. 


Our Nation’s Capitol- Spring Break 2015

This year for our Spring Break trip, I thought taking my teenagers to Washington would be a cool departure from our usual beach vacations. This was not entirely selfless. I really am not ready to sport my Lands End tankini just yet, if you catch my drift. The choice was well received by my husband and oldest son and our youngest son was a little “meh” with the whole idea at first. Now I will tell you that we are very last minute traveller’s. This entire trip was thrown together in less than three weeks. We found reasonable airfare (we travelled on a Thursday through Tuesday) and I’m going to let you in on a lodging secret that I learned about from a girlfriend over lunch.  (Not a sponsor and not a paid ad) I had never heard of this before. Clearly we have been overpaying for hotel rooms for a loooong time. I found a 2bdrm/2Ba condo for about $200 per night. IT WAS AWESOME! We were in the National Harbor which is about a 15 minute cab ride from the National Mall area. It was a fantastic launching pad for our trip! After a day full of walking around and sightseeing, having a great space for the whole family to spread out was great. There are plenty of restaurants to walk to and it had all the amenities of a resort.Not to mention you are on the Potomac which is beautiful to look at.

The second item that made this trip so fun was contacting our Congressman prior to going to DC. His office made reservations for tours for my family that prevented us from standing in long lines at places like the Kennedy Center, The Capitol and the Holocaust Museum. Not to mention the fact that the Capitol Tour was personalized for our small group.  For those of you who may be more of the “plan ahead” type you may also request a tour of the White House if you request it like a year in advance. (They will tell you three weeks but that’s really not the case) So we took the tourist photo outside the South Lawn Fence like everyone else. I hear you spend more time going through security than actually touring the White house anyway..

We went to Arlington Cemetery at the end of the day and if you get there by 4:30, you can see the last changing of the guard ceremony before it closes to the public at 5pm. It is very moving.

My husband worked in DC as an intern back in the 80’s so we also did some “not so touristy ” things like eating lunch at the Fish Market where he was a waiter in Old Town, and having another meal at Old Ebbitt Grill where his grandparents would take him when they visited him in DC. We visited Adams Morgan neighborhood where the National Cathedral and Ford Theater are located as well as Brookland where Lincoln’s summer cottage are located. The best meal we had was at a Ramen place in Adams Morgan called Sakuramen. It was delicious and fun. Be sure and order the pork buns!

I would definitely recommend this trip as a family vacation with teenagers. We all had a great time (Even the youngest really liked it!) It’s a lot of walking so don’t make a fashion statement with your footwear and prepare to be moved.