Ask Caroline

Caroline Manzo tackles questions on her famous pasta e fagioli recipe, lending money, and setting boundaries.

on Jul 19, 20110

Newlywed from Rochester, NY says: Hi Caroline - My mother-in-law has a key to our house ands seems to think it's OK to pop in, which is lovely. However, she thinks unlocking the door and letting herself in without knocking is OK, because she doesn't want to startle us or wake us up. I think she's coming from a good place, but it's uncomfortable not knowing when she's going to pop up! What's a good way to approach this and still make her feel welcome and comfortable in our home? We tried politely encouraging the doorbell a couple of times, but it didn't take.

Caroline says: If you have a good relationship with her, tell her the truth. It's all in the delivery; put your arm around her and tell it like it is. Explain to her that you welcome her visits, but you're looking to avoid an embarrassing situation. If you can infuse a little light-hearted humor, that's even better. Hug it out and make sure she gets where you're coming from.

The bottom line is this; it's your house and you're entitled to your privacy. Allowing it to continue only makes it harder to diffuse, and although her intentions are good, it can become an uncomfortable situation and ultimately cause hard feelings. Nip it in the bud while it's new and avoid a bigger problem down the road.

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26 comments
k.L. Webb-nashville TN
k.L. Webb-nashville TN

Hi ---I am not sure what part of N.J. you guys are in, but I know it has the word "Lakes" in it---so I pray all are safe and dry during this time of 2 back-to-back hurricanes!!! Be safe We love you guys! Your show so makes me miss the East Coast!!!! Thanks and you are the best!

tricia porter
tricia porter

Hello Caroline ,My beautiful daughter is pregnant with her first baby, She is 25 and very happy. Although not married she is living with her future husband. I ran in to someone that works with my daughters boyfriends mother.She told me she said my daughter was trying to trap her son and my daughter was no good. They have been living together for 3 years.And he was well aware she was not on birth control. Iam heart broken that she said this about my daughter .Who is Gods grace. And around us butter melts in her big mouth! How do i handle this? And should i still invite her to the baby shower(. Bye the way Caroline.He has not given her a ring or set a wedding date or purchase a home like he said he was. So who is the one that is trapped? God Bless , Trisha

Linda Roth
Linda Roth

Caroline

II would like to know how you make yur meatballs, mine just never come out right. HELP

christina from ny
christina from ny

chi chi beans is how i remember it, i will try your recipe sound delicious 2 generation italian family here, traditional foods can feed so many and it is good too

Guido
Guido

YES!!!! Cannellini Beans, My in laws use kidney and its gross, when I explain my familys recipe with cannellini and shells they say NO WAY!!! even though my entire family is italian and Im 2nd Gen here, ours is wrong HAHAHA. Keep up the good work caroline we love ya!

ginnytad
ginnytad

I, too, am in the miscarriage club with the same number but mine is four to four. I wouldn't give up my four for anything, but I have to believe that is is God's will that I not have eight (that would be a reality show unto it'self). Keeping the faith is what is important and keeps you able to keep on living day to day.

Regarding the loan issues, Oprah Winfrey once gave sage advice regarding this: 'Never loan money you expect to get back', let the person consider it a loan but in your mind, look at it as a gift, not something you wait for in return. This way if you get repaid, it's gravy.

Keep giving out the good advice and good vibes.

Annoyed83
Annoyed83

You are amazing ! And you have a beautiful family !

Victoria in Maryland
Victoria in Maryland

Thanks for sharing the recipe ! This is a dish I am working hard to perfect. I always add a Itailian sausage and a few other throw-ins .

Lisa Manoy
Lisa Manoy

Hi Caroline Just Wanted to tell you, That I love all the Family time ,they are showing this season and It really gives us a chance to see you all interact with out all the Drama.! I love the Drama too,dont get me wrong. But Doesnt it stress you out ???.lol Nice to see you relaxed in your own element My Brother inlaw had his reception at the brownstone ..What a beautiful Place it is and The food spread was simlpy Delicious ..I Live In Howell NJ and Your sons were in wegmans in Manalapan promoting the Black water ,,My Daughter who is learning disabled ,,Has a friend Michelle who is also Learning Disabled and works there. She got a chance to meet them she was sooooo excited lol...They Made her day ,especially when she took a pic with them. You brought your children up right Caroline ..They didnt judge her, they were soo kind she said .I know Your son Chris is also Learning disabled so I know You understand .Your sons are True Gentlemen and I wish Them both much success ...Thank You Sincerly ,Lisa Manoy

JasonRiddle
JasonRiddle

I think your kids are soo lucky to have you as a MOTHER... Your family is the best of all the housewives shows... love it.

debe horne
debe horne

i just wanted to say you are great i watch the show to see you and your family! i miss dina!your hair is beautiful!

Connie Aracena
Connie Aracena

While the show has taken a new twist between the 2 sis-in-law..I'm happy to see you are very proud of your children and the love for your husband..I wish you all the best always..And talk about looking FABULOUS!!!!!! May you always have love in your heart and continue to guide your family like you do..A Mom from Parsippany, NJ

maggie hunt
maggie hunt

Hello Caroline, This is more of a comment than a question. I don't Ever blog or post or whatever on the internet- mostly cause i don't believe anything out there or television has gone to hell in a hand basket. these days people are so self absorbed its funny and entertaining in a ridiculous way so i like most people watch laugh and realize how shallow the fortunate are out there. so here it is i got up today to tell you not only do i appreciate you and your family but you give me hope for reality television- i watch you and am so proud that someone with conviction honor and integrity is representing mothers and family. i know you have a huge fan base and wont be moved to much by what im saying- but here it is anyway BIG Fan! Keep it up we need you!!!!! Thanks for being real and telling it like it is. God Bless Caroline - much love Maggie Hunt

Kat918
Kat918

Caroline, you're way too classy for this bunch of women. I barely watch anymore as it's hard to see people who should be count their blessings acting like fools instead. Do yourself a favor and take a page from Dina's book and leave this dysfunctional group behind. You're above their antics and it's painful to see you have to interact with grown women acting like wayward teenagers. God bless.

B REAL
B REAL

Or was that DANIELL...... LOL..... I miss her!!!!!!!!!!

ViewerinTX
ViewerinTX

Caroline-you continue to be the sole voice of reason in the whole group and congrats on your wonderful family. Families like yours don't just happen-they are a result of tons of work from the parents and really taking the time to teach kids responsibilty, accountability and that life doesn't owe you a thing. You gotta earn it! Lots of parents want to be friends to their children and that just doesn't work. Be hard on them til they're 18 AND THEN you can start to be a friend to your child! The advice you give anyone on the show is always spot on and its unfortunate that they don't always listen to you.. Best of luck with all your family's endeavours and God Bless!

marthaViewer
marthaViewer

Once again, Caroline, you are my all time fave housewife. It is comforting to know that there are still sensible, responsible people out there who can function without all the drama and lack of self control that usually just makes bad situations even worse. You and Albert are great role models and you shine through your children. Did not know you had three miscarriages. I am fortunate to have five wonderful and healthy children ( now adults) and only one miscarriage. That was traumatic enough for me. The staff at the hospital did not know that I was still nursing my last baby and when I asked for a breast pump, they thought I was delusional and in denial and called in a psychiatrist until I explained the situation. The whole misunderstanding was, of course, not malevolent in any way, but I am using this comment to warn health care givers to make sure they get the full story resorting to such a drastic game plan. All they had to do was ask why and no psychiatrist would have been dragged into the scenario. I am a registered nurse, so believe me, I am not picking on the medical profession of which I am proud to be associated. Hope someone out there reads this and tucks it into their for future reference. Love your advice to Teresa. Hope they can all put the hurt behind, and take some honest looks in the mirror. Nobody is ever guiltless in most of these situations. By the way, you look BEAUTIFUL!!

Virginia Berasi
Virginia Berasi

I love u u r awesome but I would never want to make u mad at me the best gift I can give to u (something i ALWAYS WANTED) iS "she is a good woman" and u r

Lisa in Colorado
Lisa in Colorado

HI Caroline: regarding your answer about miscarriages, I just wanted to say, I felt as you do. I had 6 pregnancies also, with 3 miscarriages between my oldest child, my only son, and my middle child, my older daughter. One of the pregnancies went 4 months before I lost it, so I was really showing, and I had to have a D & C to remove it. I was so horribly sad, but then I became pregnant with my daughter, and I would not have had her if I hadn't lost the other pregnancy at 4 months. And then I became pregnant only 4 months after her birth with child number 3, my other daughter, when I was using 3 kinds of birth control! What is meant to be, will be. As you said, I had the children I was meant to have. Peace comes with this thought. You are very wise. I really admire you. My children are now 26, 23, and 22.

jdes209
jdes209

Thank you Caroline for posting a TRUE pasta fagioli recipe! I love this show simply for the Italian aspect. You show true Italian American culture and family values, and i find it all so wonderful. I appreciate that you say how as family you love and fight hard.

tracyg702
tracyg702

You really hit home with me when you talked about the empty nest. I am going through that right now. My oldest is in the navy and is being deployed on the 29th. My daughter is in college in another state and this is my son's last year of High school. I know next year he too will be going away to college and I just don't know what I am going to do with such a quiet house. I love my husband but it's just not the same with out the noise. How are you handling all the silence?

dmaria
dmaria

Wonderful advice! cannot wait to try the recipe!

Cali-cat
Cali-cat

I so agree with your advise on lending money. My husband and I needed a loan and we were told "no" by a good friend of ours and at first I was shocked bbut it made us think and figure things out and we could say that that friend is still a very good friend of ours. Later I tried to return the same to my niece when she came knocking on my door with her husband asking for a loan and I said "No" this made her and her husband very mad but as I soon found out they had already burned many people and have continued to do so. I am so glad I am not on that list. We only lend out what we will not miss.

Melanie0013
Melanie0013

Hi Caroline,

I am so happy for your new experience being on the radio - and I'm so excited to hear that Dina is going to be on HGTV - as Theresa says: I Love, Love, Love Dina and I can't wait to catch her new show! I think your family is fab -and it is good to see that Al is such a wonderful husband - and it is refreshing to see that he doesn't have a bad word to say about anyone - unlike some of the husbands! Take care! M