Sundial Bridge

Sundial Bridge, Redding, CA

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Busy Month of May

Blogging took a back seat last month.  May was busy for Angela and hence for us all.

First, she had a landmark birthday. 18!

She chose the Lemon Curd Crepe Cake from April’s Martha Stewart Living magazine.  Delicious!

Next,  she had a series of award ceremonies and presentations she needed to give for her senior end of year.

This was at the Windsor Rotary Club for Student of the Month with another recipient.


This was some of her art displayed during Senior Project night.


Here she giving her presentation on her Senior Project.  Her project was to start and finish writing a novel. She presented in front of a panel of teachers, parents and students.  They were notably impressed!


With only one week of school left, we threw her a big party!  We celebrated her 18th birthday, her upcoming high school graduation, her upcoming trip to Italy to study art in Florence AND her acceptance to UCSB for tha fall!  This required a special cake. So I made the family’s mile-stone cake.



Family, friends, more family and more friends.

With finals done she prepared for graduation.

Windsor High School had 412 graduates.

Yeah!  Cheers! Hooray!

The keynote speaker was a former football coach.  He had been gone for most of this year to be a contestant on The Biggest Loser.  Koli Palu lost 216 lbs. Angela had watched the entire show and was so excited to meet him.

Five days later Angela boarded a plane to Italy.  She will spend four weeks there; one in Lucca with friends and three weeks in Florence studying art.  Now its June and I’m sure things will slow down around here.  She will be missed!


Surprise Dessert!

This is Angela, taking over the kitchen for my experiment.

My parents were out today and I was in charge of a portion of dinner, which I did. But then, I was watching the Food Network today (more out of boredom than actually wanting to learn something) and I heard the term “Banana Bites”, which perked my interest. It was a dessert where the lady put a melted peanut butter chocolate spread between banana chips.

I do not have banana chips, nor did I feel like melting chocolate into peanut butter. So this is what I did instead.

First, I cut up a very large banana into thin, even slices and laid them out on a cooking sheet. I sprinkled them with cinnamon but I recommend you do this after they cook because it burnt on the pan and made the bananas stick a bit.

I put the banana slices in the oven on a broiler setting for about 10-15 minutes until they were golden and baked. For the filling, I split them into Nutella (a chocolate hazelnut spread) and creamy peanut butter. I used plastic baggies for piping and put them in a hot water bath to make them softer. Before I piped them, I cut little holes at the end of the bag.

When the banana chips were ready, I pulled them out of the oven and carefully transferred them to cooling racks with wax paper. I lined them up 2-by-2 so that there was a bottom and lid for each.

 I also split them in half because some people in this house don’t like Nutella.

 Then I piped in the peanut butter and Nutella, making sure to leave lids blank for each piped piece.

 I covered each one and set them on separate plates, sprinkling powdered sugar over them.

 Of course I had to taste one of each.

 And then I popped them in the fridge so that the Nutella and peanut butter harden and don’t ooze when eaten.

Super easy and you can put any sort of filling you like. Enjoy!


Holidays with Family

We had an extremely busy holiday vacation.  There was lots of Christmas preparations.   

Gingerbread House Decorating


 The teenagers were in charge of all things covered in royal icing.   

 And they did a GREAT job!   



And with a sense of humor!  



Our Christmas Day was very good.  Everyone was happy with their gifts. Especially Skittles.   

 We had some wonderful meals!  We had our Ravioli at my mom’s house for Christmas lunch.  She had two servings!!  


For Christmas dinner I made Beef Wellington, a special request from Angela. And it tasted as good as it looked!   



 The next day was my mother’s 100 birthday. 100 years old!!!  We had a small drop by at her house and many family and friends came to visit.   

  I still can’t believe that she’s 100!   

The following day we were visited by my brother-in-law, his wife, their five-year old triplets and 2 1/2 year old Henry.    

 Jenna has been my inspiration for blogging.  She’s been blogging for five years sharing her story about The Amazing Triplets and Henry.  



 We had a wonderful time with the kids,  Guy and Jenna!    

We went to the beach…   


                                                                  …to the park…   

                                                                                                                              …they busted the Gingerbread House…   


 …celebrated the New Year…   

 …by staying up until midnight eating chocolate truffles!!!   

While the Southern California Lawrences were here we had a Lawrence get-together.   

 Angela was sad to have the holidays come to and end.   

 When all the shopping is done, all the wrapping torn apart, all the cooking and preparing is done, the very best part of the holidays is spending it with family.  I hope 2010 brings us together with family even more!   



Kathy: I grew up with certain traditions, especially during the holidays.  The one tradition that stands out and that we still do is having homemade ravioli for Christmas dinner.  When I was little, I remember my mom spending several days preparing and making ravioli.  I don’t remember helping much then, but I remember being mesmerized by all the steps it took to make these heavenly little pillows of dough filled with meat and cheese. 

When I was older I was able to help make them but soon I realized that my mom didn’t have a written recipe for her ravioli.  So, through the years several of us in the family have spent time with her to help make them and to learn how to make them.  It’s not Christmas for me without my mom’s ravioli.  So every year I happily make them.  And thank my mom for all the years she made them for us.

However, I do make them a little differently then she did.  It still takes three days: cook the meats one day, make the filling and make the dough the second day and on the third we assemble them.  Now,  I can’t share the exact recipe here, but we would like to share the process.  Just know that each and every ravioli is made with love.

Angela: So here’s the set-up now that we’ve got this operation down to a two-person thing.

My mom rolls the dough out. This year, we figured out a super-sneaky way to get the ravioli to not have a ton of dough and yet, keep them durable.

We plan on filling all these baking sheets and some over again. We sprinkle semolina flour on them so they don’t stick.

I’m on assembly. This little station is where the dough and filling come together. The metal tray with the holes (very technical equipment here) gives the ravioli their hat shape. The scooper is used to get the right amount of filling and the water is to seal them up.

This is the filling. It’s a secret recipe that even I don’t have the rights to yet. All I know is it has meat, cheese, spinach, and eggs. I don’t make it, I just assemble. This is a huge bowl by the way. By far, it was the biggest batch we’ve ever made.

But before this delicious filling can be stuffed into the dough, the dough has to be rolled into sheets that can fit on the ravioli tray. We have another nifty machine for that. Back when we started this whole operation, my dad and brother used to take turns with a machine that cranked the dough flat. With this new mechanical doohickey, we’ve eliminated the boys (they’re happy) from the labor force.

She just runs the homemade dough through this lovely contraption.

And then she gets these long, thin pieces of dough that are strong enough to put up with being stuffed.

At this point, the dough comes to me where I place it on the metal tray. Carefully with my thumb, I make little depressions in each of the 12 holes. Then I use pastry brush and water to wet the edges so that each ravioli will seal.

One scoop of filling in each hole and then with clean fingers, I flatten each scoop so there’s no air bubbles.

Then the top layer of dough goes on (carefully so that no air bubbles form).

I roll it over with a rolling-pin so that the zip-zap edges cut through the dough.

I then flip over the tray and out pop a dozen perfect, lovely ravioli.

They get placed on the baking trays until that tray is filled.

 When the tray is filled, like this one, it goes in the freezer. When they all freeze, we put them in bags and freeze them until its time to eat. 

So the result for the day……… 

 370 ravioli!


Skittles even came by to check out what we were doing. Either that, or the smell of the filling lured her in.

♥ Kathy and Angela 

My Little Navy Dress

About a year ago I saw this dress in a magazine and tore it out and pinned it to my sewing bulletin board.   Along with the other 15 or so magazine photos I have pinned there.  There it stayed until last spring when I went fabric shopping with my cousin Teri.  dress scan

She lives near several great fabric stores!  So we went shopping and I found some navy blue cotton eyelet.  I had never seen cotton eyelet in navy!  It seemed like a great fabric for a dress; casual, easy to wear, and great color!  So I used the magazine inspiration to design my navy, eyelet dress.

dress&coat 004I lined the bottom with silk lining so it feels really comfortable and I lined the top part with silk organza in navy because I didn’t want it too sheer.

dress&coat 006I used my dress form and created and changed the pattern a bit.  When it came to the hem, I just left it trimmed to the eyelet.  I used an invisible zipper and added a little vent at the bottom.

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I am really pleased with my dress!

Then I though about wearing it and concluded that a jacket would make a finished outfit.  I have made many jackets and I wanted something different and more current.  About that time I watched a piece on TV on Michelle Obama and I saw her in that lemon grass colored coat.  I remember watching her on Jan. 20th and thinking what a great outfit she wore.  So…

I decided to make a coat for my navy dress.  I wanted similar fabric with that comfortable, easy wear feeling. So I went back to the fabric store and found 100% linen in navy! 

dress&coat 022I made a linen coat in navy to wear with the eyelet dress.  The dress had a low v-neck front and back.  So the coat has a higher neck and four buttons.  I found them at Britex in San Francisco!

dress&coat 029I wanted to inject some color into this outfit so I added  a lively lining.

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I’m really pleased with this entire outfit.  The coat can be worn with other outfits.  The dress can be worn alone or with a colorful shawl.  I can dress up the outfit for a more formal occasion.  Or keep it simple for casual events.

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This outfit took me all summer to make.  But it wasn’t difficult sewing.

I entered this outfit into a sewing contest.  Go to: http://www.craftstylish.com/contest/fall-fashion-challenge-09

and check out my competition!


Family Reunions

The first few weeks of August have been all about getting together with family.  We had a a reunion at my house several weeks ago. I come from a rather large Italian family and we love a party! Grape_arbor









 For this Italian Family Reunion we decided to celebrate ‘zero’ birthdays.  Partly because my mother will be 100 this year.

My mom with a nephew.

My mom with grandson.

After a little searching I found 16 family members with ‘zero’ birthdays!  We had someone for each decade except 90.  It was GREAT! One_of_these_is_no_longer_a_teen

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Everyone brought a potluck dish so we had lots of yummy Italian dishes!  And my husband manned his new BBQ kitchen.

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Dessert was birthday cake with a star trophies for each celebrant.

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Large family group pictures were taken.  Cousins played darts and bocce, lots of eatting, drinking and talking and my 100 year old mother enjoyed visiting with everyone! 


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It was very special to have so many family members here and I want to thank everyone who made it.

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A week later my husband’s family had a smaller but equally fun family reunion.  Good food, wonderful people, and some good billiard games were enjoyed by all.

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Cousins got together and shared stories from college, work and travel.

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The grandparents were there, too!

With a little modern technology and Angela’s wonderful photo editing skills, we took a nice group photo.

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We missed family that couldn’t make it. 

It’s great being part of these wonderful families! 

Let’s do this again soon!