Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Invalid Marriages

Did you know that people outside of St.Louis do not know what mostacholi is?

I was shocked. We couldn't even buy the noodles for the longest time. I remember being so sick of this Italian pasta dish when we left St. Louis. It is a great food for feeding large crowds. My uncle used to say that it wasn't a valid Catholic wedding if mostacholi wasn't served. (He was our family's Italian link.) Catholics in our area all had an Italian in the family tree somewhere or at least were familiar with the good food that the Italians brought to St. Louis years before. Most Catholics had large families that were all invited to the big church weddings. What better to serve than this delicious easy dish!?!

Anyway I was at a mom's meeting and we were all discussing our own weddings from years ago. Someone started discussing what food was served and I made the comment
"What you didn't serve mostacholi, ya know it wasn't a valid marriage if mostacholi wasn't served. . . ha ha"

NO one laughed. I felt like a million Texas woman began to stare me down. I looked at the New Yorker in the group, she had never heard of it either. I was shocked. If Uncle Al was not already gone, God Rest his soul, he would have died when he discovered how many invalid marriages there actually are outside of St. Louis.

Shocking, I tell you, just shocking. Not only did they not have mostacholi at their weddings, they didn't even know what it was.

Anyway we got a hold of some noodles and Jason made a very cheap version of it. It was nice to have a little taste of home even though I spent the night looking around for a bride and groom.

The pretty version from the top:
Oven Baked Mostacholi Recipe
1 pound
1 medium
1 large
5 cups
1 - 16 ounce package
4 cups
1/2 cup bulk mild Italian sausage
green bell pepper, chopped
onion, chopped
meatless spaghetti sauce
mostacholi noodles
mozzarella cheese, shredded
parmesan cheese, grated
Oven Temp: 350°
Cooking Time: 30 to 45 minutes
Pan Type: baking pan
Preheat Oven.
Cook mostacholi according to package directions for firm pasta.
Brown the sausage, onions and green pepper until meat is no longer pink inside.
Stir often to break up the sausage.
Drain well.
Add sauce, bring mixture to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
Put small amount of sauce in bottom of pan.
Next, layer one half of the mostacholi pasta over the sauce and 2 cups of the mozzarella cheese.
Cover with 2 cups of sauce.
Repeat layer’s and top with parmesan cheese.
Bake for allotted time.
Serve this oven baked mostacholi recipe with your favorite garlic bread.

Serves: 9 - 12

The cheap version that we made but still love:
Use Prego Italian Sauce
fry Hamburger meat and add to the sauce
cook the mostacholi noodles seperatly and drain when tender
pour the sauce with the meat on top
add grated paramesian cheese on top.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Odd Day

Monday Cowboy had his shots and then was up that night with a high fevor. Tuesday we slept little being worried about Moogie. Wednesday night Cowboy kept us up again he now was fighting a cold. So after three nights with limited sleep I was out of it today. The four older girls went to a volleyball camp with dad. J helped today at the camp. They all had a blast.

Why all that information . . . today was a very odd day. For the first time in my life I spent my day in a male world. Bear, Pickel, and Cowboy were stuck at home with a very tired mom and just two sisters. The little girls love their big brothers and adore the baby so they were happy. The older girls had a blast with dad at volleyball. My boys are so much like their daddy. They took good care of their mom but refused to kill any bugs for me. They told me that I was big enough to do it myself. ~So why did I have boys?~

Moogie is fine

All is good! The doctor didn't think that her pain was an issue. If she continues to have the pain we will look to see if it increases or decreases with activity. He ran an EKG and compared to her after surgery test. No changes. So things looked good. I really felt like we were over reacting, but then what do you do. Anyway I can sum it up to say that we are very thankful that Moogie was healed three summer ago and is still doing wonderfully. We are most thankful for the last 24 hours of worry, they have reminded us how much we value the health of each of our kiddos. Thank you so much for your prayers.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Long day

Thanks for all prayers. I am still sure she will be fine. We could not get an appointment until 5pm today. SO this will be a long day for her dad. (I have too much laundry to do to worry too much!) Moogie is very upset that she has to miss swim today. More later!

Pray for Moogie

Life has been insane the past few weeks. I hoped that things would settle down a tad after were returned from our trip to Italy. I think they have a little but we are so busy with swim team that I am still hoping to catch my breath soon.

Pooker is doing great with her school work but the rest are behind. We will be doing work over the summer. Honestly in TX that is probably the best way to spend summer. It is just too hot to do anything outside. We will try to get stuff done in the morning and then head to the pool in the afternoons.

I am a tad down this week. Monday marked the six year anniversary of that nasty car accident that I was in. I really am so blessed that I only have three small scars on my foot and a little pain when the weather changes as a result. It was so long ago and yet I remember it so vividly. I still feel so blessed that nothing happen to that little one inside. Our little Princess was not injured and that alone was a complete miracle. Thank you God.

Tonight though Moggie "confided" in me that her chest has been hurting the past couple of days. She didn't want me to tell her dad because he would over react. Well Duh!!!! I told dad, he over reacted and now we anxiously await talking to the doctor. We have all had colds the the past few days. Moogie has had a little cough the past two days and has really been pushing herself at swim team practice. I really think that her chest is sore from the coughing and from the intense swims. I don't think it is her heart at all. . . but I will let you all know.

For those that don't know our little Moogie was born with a very rare congenital heart defect. It was "corrected" when she was six and she is supposed to be "good to go" now. Needless to say that we as a family are very sensitive to the chest when it comes to this little lady. Please say a prayer for her.
Moogie September 2005

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Visit to Italy with work friends

Jason won his company's incentive trip again for sales in 2007. This year the trip was to Italy. We had a blast. The best part was that so many of our BIC friends made the trip this year also. Jason gets to see those working for the company several times a year; but as the spouse, I only get to see these friends if we all win the incentive trip. It was great to see so many friends from past trips.

We traveled to Venice first and then on to Verona. We had no problems with flights, airports, people or anything. We did learn that the deGualle airport in Paris is never the fastest place in the world. No worries, the flights are always delayed. We learned that the euro is funny looking money. The coins are valuable. Everything costs more than in the states. You are always paying for your water because if only comes bottled. We preferred the "no gas" water, thank you very much.

Many people from around the world speak better English than the immigrants that we find in TX. (Honestly this was a huge surprise.) We find more language barriers trying to order at McDonald's from the young lady that knows absolutely zero English and is upset with us for not knowing Spanish here in Houston. In Paris at the Airport, in Venice, Verona and all around we found that with our little Italian and their little English we could understand each other just fine.

Another surprise was that the people were much kinder than we had been told. J and I had memories of the Bahamas in our minds. The people there were fake. They were only as nice as their tip. If you were to stop a random person on the street to ask a question they would be so rude. We found the Italians to be very different. Now they didn't run around trying to wait on us hand and foot like they did in the Bahamas but they were consistent. The people were pleasant and helpful. Even the ones that we stopped in the street. That helped to make this our favorite trip. We have been to Cancun, San Fransisco, Alaska on a Cruise, The Bahamas, Hawaii and now Italy. Combine the good nature of the locals, the history all around, the embedded Catholic culture, and all the art work . . . it is safe to say that Italy is our favorite, hands down!!

The trip began in Venice. No cars, bikes, roller blades, or scooters on any of the islands at all. Everyone moved by walking, boat or a combination. The main Island of Venice was very costly. Everything was hand carted. We even watched trash pickup on a cart. The open food markets just off the "Grand Canal" was filled with wonderful smells of fresh fruits and vegetables. The smell was not so great when we reached the fish portion. The seafood was all fresh. I preferred the Pizza but I will admit the seafood was very good. It seamed like the guides were constantly saying "well it was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1445." Or "Napoleon stole this artwork and it is now in the Louvre."

We were surprised to find out the Venice that still deals with the floods that come in with the tides. St. Marks square is one of the most beautiful places in the world. It is crowded with people from all over, there are pigeons all over, it is just as exciting in the day with the crowds as it is at night with the water on the ground. For the Christians in us we loved that the center of the area was the church named for St. Mark the Gospel writer who's remains reside inside the church.

The gondola ride was wonderful. Not at all what I thought it would be like but wonderful non the less. Movies do not do Venice justice. It is so different that anything we have ever experienced. J said he would love to live their for a year. Long enough to live the life, I would like to spend a week there but I would hate the live off of seafood.

We stayed on an island that at one time was built up by monks, it later became a convent and then is now a 5 star hotel. The Island was named in honor of St. Clement. I loved that considering I grew up in St. Clement's parish. In a small way I was connected to the history on this beautiful little Island. I was surprised to learn that at one time there were several little Islands that had monastery's and/or convents. We peaked into the forgotten and abandoned chapel on the Island. It is now used as a storage facility for tables and chairs for the hotel. The statues, crucifixes, stations, and alters still attached were long forgotten, not to mention the gorgeous fresco's that covered the ceilings. I wish that our churches in America could purchase more of those forgotten pieces of art. J and I were so sad to realize how many forgotten works of art are just lying around.

We visited a few of the other Islands. One is known for its lace making. The island has few inhabitant with just a handful of elderly ladies stitching away. They admit that the craft is dying. None of the youngsters want to take the time to learn the skills. Machines in China make most of the lace that the sell to tourist on the Island. They true lace is very expensive, but gorgeous. We visited a church while on the Island. It was so beautiful! Most of the artwork was only 1000 years old!


This is a slide show of Verona. I wish I had more time to label each pic and explain, I just don't have the time. Maybe over summer when school ends and swim team is over and it is too hot to do anything else . . . who am I kidding. Maybe when I am 60 years old and have finally finished the laundry I will find the time. I just hope I remember the details until then.

Anyway, Verona is the home town of the characters that Romeo and Juliet are based on. Verona had remnants of Roman occupation from the years just after Christ. The colosseum was close to being 2000 years old. It was so cool to see. Of course it has been "rebuilt" a dozen times but it was awe inspiring to be surrounded by so much History. We found the best pizza here in Verona. The gelato (ice cream) wasn't too bad either. We stayed in a hotel that Mozart had stayed in. The sights were wonderful. The cars were small and everyone walked or biked. The cobblestone streets were crowded but the experience was wonderful!