Authentic & Yummy Pasta Carbonara

So I’ve been in search of a great Pasta Carbonara. Something that reminds me of my honeymoon in Italy. That first night, when we arrived late because our flight was delayed, we missed the meeting with our travel group, asked the front desk for a local restaurant…and we enjoyed probably the BEST food we had the whole trip! Yummy Pasta carbonara,  bruschetta and red wine! (Heaven on earth) So I found this recipe on Pinterest and made a couple modifications and it was definitely close to our Italian experience! Now if only I can recreate that delicious Italian bread and bruschetta!

Here are the ingredients:

  • 8 ounces pasta – I love to use Tortiglioni or a large rigatoni (something imported from Italy!) but you can use spaghetti noodles (1/2 pound)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 7 slices bacon, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley


In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; reserve 1 cup water and drain well. You can leave the al dente pasta in the water to stay hot.
In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, a small pinch of salt and Parmesan; set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes; leave excess fat (I only used about 1/2). Set aside bacon.Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium low.

Working quickly, stir in pasta and egg mixture, and gently toss to combine; wait to season with salt because the bacon and Parmesan will add salt and you don’t want it to end up being too salty. Toss in bacon. At this point keep stirring and do not let your heat get too high. The sauce might look runny at first but it will “tighten” up as it cooks. This allows the eggs to get to a safe temperature. Kind of like when you make Hollandaise sauce.  You will only cook it for a few minutes more. If the heat is too high or you cook it for too long your eggs may scramble.

Only add the reserved pasta water if your sauce gets too thick for your liking.

*Optional*Add reserved pasta water, one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired. I also top it with fresh grated Parmesan and a little fresh ground pepper which is how it’s served in Italy! It’s so delicious!  Enjoy and leave me some love if you like it! 🙂

Pasta Carbonara - www.sweetpiecesbyme.com

Paper Pumpkin

Paper Pumpkin Giveaway!!

Hello Friends!

If you’re here you have seen my video or saw my picture of my Paper Pumpkin Kit Giveaway! Yay! So here is what I’m giving away and why…

This Birthday Bash Paper Pumpkin kit!…not the finished card or bag 🙂 I’m doing this because I want to share these amazing kits with everyone!!! Also because I’m back at this blogging thing and would love some followers. Then I can share my card inspiration with others and maybe earn an occasional comment or two 😉

www.sweetpiecesbyme.com FREE Paper Pumpkin KitSo, how do you win? Easy! Just become a Follower on my blog AND comment on this post. Please comment only ONCE! To become a Follower: under my picture on the right side you will see “Follow This Blog”, click to follow and enter your email address so you will get my blog updates. Then comment on this post saying “I’m a follower”, or feel free to say something nice about my blog 😉

TO GET UP TO 5 EXTRA ENTRIES!!!…..Read on…..

1 extra entry for sharing my giveaway picture on your Pinterest board (my username is sweetpiecesbyme)

1 extra entry for tweeting about it (tag me @sweetpiecesbyme)

1 extra entry for sharing it on Instagram (tag me @sweetpiecesbyme)

1 extra entry for sharing it on Facebook & Liking my Page www.facebook.com/sweetpiecesbyme

1 extra entry for sharing it on your personal blog (link my giveaway picture back to this post)

If you do any of the above for extra entries, you must comment on this post with which ones you did so I can keep track! (Please only comment ONCE!)

Come back here on Sept 1st (or maybe the 2nd) and see if you won!!! If not, don’t worry, you can still sign up for Paper Pumpkin and get 1/2 off your 1st two months! Read on….

If you are ready to sign up and start receiving your super cute Paper Pumpkin kits, click on this 50% off flyer! Enter the promo code: HALFOFF at checkout so you will get 50% off your first 2 months! What a DEAL!!!

50% OFF Paper Pumpkin

I plan to have many more giveaways so please come back often! I will also be regularly posting new cards and projects, tutorials and fun videos! I say fun because I am funny and well therefore fun 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!! ~ Charlene


Mojo Monday 412

Yay it’s Monday! Well…by the time I post this, it could possibly be Tuesday. 😉 We put the kids to bed, did the dishes and picked up toys, then finally I got to make my Mojo Monday card. It’s been a rough few days being sick, but I’m feeling so much better I’m gonna stay up late! haha (praying I don’t get a relapse!)

Happy Haunting

Here is the cute sketch by Julee:

I couldn’t help but use the awesome spiderweb doilies…AGAIN! Man I just cannot get enough of these! You’ll be able to purchase these Sept 1st, don’t worry 😉


And in which case you will also need the Fine-Tip glue to use when adhering these beautiful embellishments! Trust me, you’ll NEED this.

Fine-Tip Glue www.sweetpiecesbyme.com

I used the Gorgeous Grunge stamp set to stamp the background in a random pattern using Rich Razzleberry. Then I stamped a couple of those creepy looking spiders from the All Year Cheer stamp set, using the Archival Basic Black ink (which will be in the new catalog!).  MUST HAVE.  Once I adhered the Spider Web, I cut little banners with the design paper and the rich razzleberry Happy Haunting Washi Tape. I doubled the tape so it would look a little darker. Of course I had to add some bling! The Metallics Sequins are SO pretty AND versatile! You can use these on almost every card…and for $5 for approx 750 pieces, well, you can’t argue with that. 😉 Thanks so much for stopping by! Please leave me some love! xoxo

Holiday Catalog - SweetPiecesByMe.com
If you don’t have a demonstrator, please let me know & I’ll be happy to mail you a catalog! Starts Sept 1st!

Learn more about the benefits of being my Sweet Rewards customer!

Here are all the products that I used on my card.


Mojo Monday 411

One of these days I’ll actually post the Mojo Monday challenge on Monday! 😉

Sadly I must make this a short post because I’m already in bed at 10:30 pm (which is early for me) because I feel like I’m getting the flu. I’m dreading tomorrow because my husband works so I’m on my own taking care of our two toddlers! Who’s gonna take care of me?? Wahhhh!! Ok I’m fine now. 😉


So this card is special because it’s for my Stampin Up partner in crime, Trini! Her and I go way back to when I first found SU. I used the Mojo Monday 411 sketch to make something  that might be worthy of her. She always makes the most amazing cards!!! Saturday is her birthday and I really hope she has a beautiful day! ♡ Love you girl!!!

MOJO411 Charlene Becker

Also, I used the Bow builder punch and the Vintage faceted buttons that are part of the Weekly Deals this week. Get them while they are on sale! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

Endless Birthday Wishes - Charlene Becker


Paper Pumpkin – August

This month’s Paper Pumpkin has arrived!!! It is SO stinkin cute! I’m in love with all of it. The colors, the flowers, the gift boxes, the stamps (includes a sympathy stamp!). If you haven’t tried Paper Pumpkin yet, now is a GREAT time to try it out because you’ll get 50% off your first TWO MONTHS! That’s just $10 per month then the price is only $19.99/month. Just use Promo Code: HALFOFF at my website HERE until September 10th! You can cancel at any time or skip a month!

Paper Pumpkin August 2015
Paper Pumpkin August 2015
Family, Life, Living, Love, Writing

Saying Goodbye…

On Saturday my family and I said goodbye to my Aunt Linda. She was my mother’s cousin and they were very close having grown up together and even had their wedding anniversaries only 3 years apart. Their children very close in age. She was my “Auntie” out of respect and love. It came as quite a shock when I found out she had terminal liver cancer only a few short weeks ago. Then we found out she passed away August 1st.

Me & Auntie Linda
Me & Auntie Linda (Feb 2015)
Linda's Memorial
Linda’s Memorial (Aug 2015)

Everything happened so quick. We are still in shock. I’m so saddened that we lost her too soon. She had so much life left to live. I made a card for the family using the Flower Patch stamp set and the Flower Fair framelits.

For Linda's Family
“For the Family”

While at the funeral reception I had the pleasure to finally meet Laura Vegas! Crazy small world that she is part of our extended family! It was neat to talk to her and ask her about her latest scrapbooking and designing adventures! Even though I felt silly I had to ask for a picture with her. After all, she is family 😉 We had a lovely chat with her, me and my sister, Caroline. We are both eager to get our blogs off the ground and she had some great insight! I’ll be following her blog for sure for lots of inspiration.

Me with Laura Vegas
Me with Laura Vegas

Even though it was a very sad day, it brought family closer together. It made me also start thinking. What if tomorrow was my last day here? Would I be ready? Would my family and children know how much I love them? I decided I must write letters to my children and my husband as soon as possible and tuck them away. Yes it is sad to think about it, but no one knows the hour that their time will come.

On the way home we had to stop at our old family favorite, King Eggroll. We used to frequent the Berryessa location in San Jose many an occasion for dim sum and eggrolls. If you live in the Bay Area and you have never had a King Eggroll, stop what you are doing and head there now. 😉 You’ll thank me. We got the usual dumplings (dim sum) and decided to take a fun family selfie because my parents and us siblings are hardly ever together with no spouses or kids!

Dim Sum

My Family
My Family

Here’s to my Aunt Linda and to anyone else that has lost someone….

It’s been a long day without you my friend
And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
We’ve come a long way from where we began
Oh, I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
When I see you again
Why’d you have to leave so soon?
Why’d you have to go?
Why’d you have to leave me when I needed you the most?
‘Cause I don’t really know how to tell you
Without feeling much worse
I know you’re in a better place
But it’s always gonna hurt
Carry on
Give me all the strength I need to carry on
It’s been a long day without you my friend
And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
We’ve come a long way from where we began
Oh, I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
When I see you again
How do I breathe without you
I’m feeling so cold
I’ll be waiting right here for you
Till the day you’re home
Carry on
Give me all the strength I need to carry on
So let the light guide your way
Hold every memory as you go
And every road you take will always lead you home
It’s been a long day without you my friend
And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
We’ve come a long way from where we began
Oh, I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
When I see you again

Writer(s): Cameron Jibril Thomaz, Charlie Otto Puth Jr, Justin Scott Franks, Andrew Cedar


Mojo Monday 410 – On Thursday?

Hello Friends!

Yep, time got away from me this week! I am just now posting my card for the Mojo Monday Challenge. I would love to blame this on something or someone…such as, my 3 year old son is sick and has been coughing A LOT, my upline’s meeting was today, I had to show my house this week, I had to clean the <insert whatever here>…but I won’t. I will just say, BETTER LATE THAN NEVER! HA! I am a major procrastinator so I think that has been and always will be my motto. 😉 Anyway, on to the Mojo Monday sketch and card!

Super cute layout! I can’t stop thinking about the new Spiderweb Doilies that will be in the Holiday catalog September 1st, so I used those! I also sponged some silver glimmer paper to get an “almost” black….which you won’t HAVE to do anymore because there will be BLACK GLIMMER PAPER!!! Ahhhhh! 🙂 But if you do just get the silver…think of all the possibilities! 😉


I also trimmed the spiderweb behind the “moon” (because no one would know!) and I used that for a tag I made. Sneaky, huh? The iced rhinestones are new too, or will be Sept 1st, and they are gorgeous! They add SO much sparkle to the card. Well, that’s it for today! Hope you enjoyed this post (I do try to entertain) and my card!


Mojo Monday 409 Card Sketch Challenge – Contest

I haven’t participated in a challenge in a LONG time….so I was so happy when I saw this sketch over at Mojo Monday. I loved it! However, as I was creating my card, I kept thinking is this going to match? Is this going to look cute? But, I kept going….and I am SO happy with how it turned out! 🙂


I did take a picture as I was creating to show you how I used the Spiderweb Doily (new in the holiday catalog). I cut the middle out, turned it over and sponged it. I just love how Stampin Up’s products are so versatile! It’s always nice to get more bang for your buck 😉


And here is my finished card! I used a new stamp set from the holiday catalog called Thankful Forest Friends, Into the Woods DSP, Into the Woods cotton ribbon in Rich Razzleberry, Into the Woods elements and the Spiderweb Doilies. This hand-painted design paper is absolutely gorgeous! I can’t wait to create more cards and projects!


 If you would like a holiday catalog to be sent to you and you do not have a demonstrator, please request one from me! Just send me an email! Thanks for stopping by! tmp_30104-PhotoGrid_1438931247593885695266

Price: $5.25

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Paper Pumpkin – HALF OFF!!!

This is a great special! Stampin Up’s monthly kit, Paper Pumpkin is having a special. If you sign up by September 10th, you can get HALF OFF your first TWO months! That’s a $20 savings! Just use Promo Code: HALFOFF and follow my link HERE.


If you’re not familiar with Paper Pumpkin, you’ll want to be! 🙂 Paper Pumpkin is a monthly kit that will arrive at your door and includes everything you need to make beautiful cards or a project/craft! It will even be wrapped like a present and it is a surprise every month! I went to Convention and got a sneak peek of the August and September kits and they are CUTE! You do NOT want to miss out!! (Sign up by August 10th to receive the August kit!)

  1. Go to www.mypaperpumpkin.com and click one of these three links:

    . “Join Here” (middle of the page)
    . “Join” (top right of the screen)
    . “Subscribe” (top middle of the screen)

  2. In the “Quantity” field, enter 1 (or more) and click “Continue.”
  3. Enter your general information and click “Continue.”
  4. Enter your payment information and click “Continue.”
  5. Select a demonstrator. (me! Charlene Becker)
    (If you are a demonstrator, Paper Pumpkin will recognize you by your e-mail address and won’t prompt you to select another demonstrator.)

That’s it! You are official. You will receive an e-mail that invites you to come back to the site to create a password. You will need that if you ever want to change your information, skip a month, or cancel Paper Pumpkin kits.