Haiku Challenge Friday: Hunger Games

A Haiku is a three line poem with 5 syllables the first line, 7 syllables the second line and 5 again for the last line. 

My Dad is a BIG Haiku guy, he loves them and many of us have encouraged him to publish them in a book. I do it randomly and rarely but always enjoy the process. It usually starts with an idea or a moment in life I want to capture.

Haiku Challenge participants...just write your haiku in the comments of the relevant post!

Please email me a Haiku Challenge if you would like to be a Guest Challenger. Include the challenge word and your starting Haiku poem.

Here is this week's challenge Haiku:
Hunger Games Movie:
not a romantic date night
makes me grateful though!

Your challenge word to use in your haiku is : hunger

Let's hear your haiku!

I Used to Iron Napkins, But Martha Stewart Has Left the Building!

My husband and sat together on our sunny porch the other afternoon while the tots napped.  He had brought me a glass of lemon water to rouse me from my cozy outdoors "Spring-like-weather-but-snow-will -probably-come-one-more-time" nap.  We sat on our porch swing and visited and held hands.

He asked a question I am certain many parents have asked their fellow parent: "Do you remember what it was like when we first got married?  Like...before the kids came along?"

Before I had kids, I ironed my cloth napkins.

And enjoyed it.

(I know....)

I never ironed clothes happily, but my napkins...oh!  Every day every meal since I was a child there were cloth napkins on the table.  This was one of the things I took from my early years and intentionally applied to my *ahem* older years.  Cloth napkins.  Such a luxury and yet practical.  Beautiful.  Elegant.  Most guests I have had to a meal at my house have remarked on them.

I nodded to myself when reading The Daily Connoisseur Blog by Jennifer Scott. She offers AWESOME ideas on how to add elegance and sophistication to the smallest details of your life, often at no cost!  She mentioned a table cloth every day, and even with my two littles I often throw one on our dinner table after reading her article.  Even though I know it might not last one meal.  We have a nice washing machine, after all!

So I throw caution to the wind for my tablecloth, and we all, even the three year old, use cloth napkins.


They are not ironed!  Now that I have a week's worth of clothing, mess, dishes and debris for four people to contend with, ironing a few napkins seems ridiculous.

But they are still on my table, Martha, they are still on my table.  Maybe I should fold them at least?

Yes Honey, I remember life before our two girls:  It was easier, we could be more selfish, full place settings were on the table and the napkins were ironed.  But you know, there was a lot less love, less laughter, and fewer reasons to use those napkins...way back then.

Struggling to lose weight? Tasty Fast Food tips from Mumbling Mommy!

Yep I haven't been writing.  

I have a list of drafts to finish. 

Two little girls and some domestic adventures (in the way of recovering new dining room chairs) have kept me busy, distracted and TIRED.  

I did get a little blog reading done tho, over at Mumbling Mommy blog where they share some limelight with me, there was a GREAT POST on eating healthy on the go.  You can find that here.  At least I have given you SOMETHING GOOD to read!!!

Customer Service FOUND: Awesome Silcott Shoes Valparaiso, Indiana

Cinderella, Suri Cruise, The Ridiculous Kardashians:  all famous shoe addicts. Suri Cruise has $150,000 shoe collection.  The stylist for Vogue has a few shoes too.  Of course Khloe K likes shoes a bit, and Kim Kardashian shouldn't be overlooked with her gross excess and US Magazine closet tour.  I wasn't going to mention Imelda Marcos, but everyone who actually knows something about fashion did so there, I said her archaic name.

Ugliest Shoes EVER via Yahoo Shine?

 I am not a shoe girl, never have been.

I think after my folks stopped supplying my every shoe needs I bought whatever annual basic (black) dress and casual shoes from Payless or Kmart.  This was LOOOOONG before Payless had good shoes, or at least good looking shoes.  They were the Walmart of shoes I would say, back then.  So there was definitely no finesse or style to them, or to me, in the footwear department.


Parade of Shoes in Chicago circa 1993.  I not only began to notice shoes, at Parade of Shoes I could afford 'em too.  I still remember starting to wear heels, and my favorite gunmetal t-strap mary janes, and mules and finally having shoes cluttering the floor of my closet.

But. Then. I Grew Up.

I lost that lovin feeling but about once a year I found a pair I loved.  For you adoring shoe fans...I'm talking CROCS!  Birkenstocks!  Get the picture?  UGH.  I weaned myself off of the Crocs a few years ago and onto Birkenstocks.  There was a brief but raging debate on which was uglier...feel free to weigh in below in the comments.  

Last year I started to pay more attention to my appearance in the jewelry department, now it is Spring and I need sandals.  I have red Fake Keens that are uncomfortable (thanks for nothing Airwalk from Payless!) a pair of sensible and snooze worthy black sandals for dresses annnnnd The Birks.  I wore the Birkenstocks for the past two years but wanted something BETTER.  And prettier.  I know it wouldn't be too hard so I began to look.

Nope.  Nothing.  Not at Target, Fashion Bug, Kohl's, Thrifting or Consignment boutiques.

I only need one pair, but I need them to do everything.  And I am prepared to pay for it.

I headed to the Silcott Shoes store in charming and delicious downtown Valparaiso, Indiana.  Located at 11 Washington Street and right next to fabulous Bangles where I got my Happy Purse, they are a short walk from our house.  I wanted to buy locally and although I had wandered in there once or twice before, this time I was ready to spend about a hundred bucks to get the right  every-day-all-summer-long-walk-for-miles-and-look-good-with-skirts-or-capris-every-day-sandal. I knew they had good shoes like Born and Keen and Birkenstocks.

Brent Silcott was covered in paper when I strollered my two girls and our jogger into the store.  Even though I waved him off until he finished, he was very attentive and interested in helping me.  Our first order of business was wedging my stroller through the hallway overflowing with shoe boxes and into the back where the ladies shoes lived.  My jogger is a Phil and Ted and has the same footprint as a basic stroller...but I couldn't fit.  Brent was very willing to help me make it happen, but I gave up and parked it in the men's area where I ended up trying on my shoes.  I really appreciated how accommodating he was and I love the intimate feel of the store, but there are probably lots of mamas who cannot shop with their kids (we don't wanna, sometimes we hafta) and the store is stroller FRIENDLY but not stroller accessible.  *sigh*

Anyhoo, we spent good time figuring out and trying on several sandals. I stressed comfort as my first priority and knowing that was very interested in finding a pair of Born sandals.  I still fantasize over the wonderful black Born loafers that got lost with all my other winter shoes when we moved to Valpo.  *sniff*  As we talked Brent's expertise really came into play.  He established that I needed an ankle strap (since my ankles are so dainty I am sure.  Not because I have big flat no arch feet that otherwise couldn't keep a sandal on. I am sure it was my daintiness in the ankle dept.)

The most comfortable option was the Born "Anah" 
(Plus they had gorgeous soles...crazy huh?)

I love the Belinda tho, just couldnt' afford to spend a lot on a heel I might not wear often.

I wasn't sure if I could get into the hurrache look of the Anah.  I am a simple girl, I like balanced smooth and even in most of my everything.  My loud comes from red lips, red hair, oh yeah and my filterless monologues of the moment.  Brent helped me go through catalogues, was willing to order something for me as long I I committed to buy something even if the order wasn't it for me.  He was direct and honest and helpful;  everything I want in buying local!

BUT.  It might take a week to get the Keen Circle of Roses in for me to try on, and I was afraid we would have snow by then.  I am a RIGHT NOW kinda girl.  I wanted to shop around and maybe give Zappos a try.  Next day delivery, free shipping even for returns...I was tempted by the souless lure of online shopping.  So I left.

I came back!  Even thought I could find Keen and Born sandals new on Ebay for half the price, or get fairly immediate satisfaction from Zappos...I came back to Brent at Silcott Shoes.

I just kept remembering how patient he was with me and the stroller.  How it seemed  he would let me bash into the wall a million times even thought I might not buy anything at all.  How even though it is a very high end (but sensible) shoe store, he didn't look at me like a crazy nutjob when I stressed what a big deal it was for me to spend this much on a pair of shoes.  That I needed them to be every-day-all-summer-long-walk-for-miles-and-look-good-with-skirts-or-capris-every-day-sandal.  I was impressed by how Brent taught me about my feet and the shoes we looked at.  I wanted to spend my money with a person I could see and touch and tell people about.  I wanted to be Facebook Friends with my shoe store.
I also figured I should shake my boring feet up with the Born "Anah" braided sandals instead of the Keens which started to look....boring.

I hustled back sans stroller and spent a little bit more time with Brent.  We decided I needed a size nine instead of the tens we tried and he gave me a good discount.  When I told him I found them cheaper on Zappos he looked them up agreeing to price match.  I was mistaken, or in my sandal shopping mind numbing frenzy got confused, Zappos was the same price...until Brent gave me a discount, then they cost more! He also gave me a $10 coupon for next time.  And there will be a next time. 

I wore the sandals out of the store, and you can expect to see them on me almost daily.  

Unless it is a Birkenstock kind of day.  

Silcott Shoes has those too, dontcha know?

P.S. Silcott Shoes have an AWESOME selection of men's shoes too...right up front and tailored to the way men shop.  Brent also said many women bring home shoes for their men to try on, then can bring them back and exchange 'em for another  pair.  Although it is a shoe selection for the man who enjoys shoes, the customer service is tailored to them man who does NOT enjoy shoe shopping!

P.P.S.  I did not receive any compensation for writing this post.  But if they gave me a free pair of shoes that would be awesome.  (Hi Brent!)  When you wander in there, please tell them it is because of Heather's Blog....you will get 10% off your purchase and I might  advance my shoe collection too.

Share your ugliest shoe confessions in the comments....

(I know you are there you lurkers...I have stats that tell me you like me enough to read me, just not enough to comment....Please make my day eh?  Comments matter.)

Craftastic! Dirty or Clean Dishwasher Girl Sign

My coworker and friend Gloria (at my last job threeish years ago!) made me a most precious gift:  

A FUNNY Dirty or Clean sign for my Dishwasher.  After five years and a million grubby kid paws all over it, she was the worse for wear.

Notice the shoulder?  Looks like a shark got at her huh?   More like a two year old.  This sign is like a toddler magnet and EVERYSTINKINTIME they pull some part of her off.  Notice the replaced head? The re-glued arm?  Youdathunk I spent a hunnerd dollers on the thing, the way I keep patching her together again.

And on the one side she is actually headless! And one armed.  *sigh*  At long last I decided to put her down this week.  She went to the round canister in the kitchen from whence nothing returns.

And I missed her.  Too much.

So I tried to make a new one.  I saw online somewhere this style with the fabric dress that flips up...I so wish I knew where so I could credit her with a thousand kisses at her feet for wit and naughtiness.  Here is my low tech cardboard version.

I LOVED it!  I also decided at once it was supposed to go to a new and dear blogger friend who uses the word for feminine nether region in almost every post....know who?  I just adore her and the freedom she gives all of us by saying the things we "shouldn't" for us!  I have wanted to create something appropriately special...here it is!

Lucky for me, when I told my friend Gloria about the demise of my Dishwasher Girl, she said she would make me a new one!

Considering the fact that my urchins will likely manhandle and behead this one too, I figure hers made from foam has more of a chance than my fancied carboard number.

I cannot offer any directions really...it is all cardboard and acrylic paint.  I had fabric I glued with craft tape and I superglued a couple of magnets behind her head and in her skirt to get the flip up to work.  The rest is up to you, Creative Team!

I would LOVE to see what you come up with.

Tiny Red Kitchen: Falafel and Dosas & Secret Sauce

So I have been doing this 'no sugary treat' thing.  That makes me crabby but it steps up my "A" game in the kitchen too.  Instead of eating Annie's mac & cheese with the short folks today, I made Falafel from The Frugal Gourmet's  Immigrant Ancestors cookbook.

In the absence of pita bread for the falafel I made Dosas from Laurel's Kitchen cookbook.

In the absence of yogurt & cucumbers to make a good sauce, I made secret sauce.  It was the age old Middle Eastern marriage of Ranch dressing and tahini.  LOL & FABULOUS.

Everything turned out so well I had to invite my friend Whitney over for lunch to share it.


FASTING: Sugar Free for 40ish Days? YEAH. WHATEVER.

My deepest apologies to those of you who were inspired by my sugar fast.  I failed BIGTIME.  And somehow have managed to 'forget' to post about it.  For weeks.

I feel pretty lame about it, but if I have a few M&M's the feeling is quickly replaced by the euphoria I get from the evil white stuff.

Even though I failed this time, I will continue to limit sugar and take fasts from it.  I just won't try 40 days, because let's be clear, I am NOT Jesus.  Not. Even. Close.

For those of you who DO exercise self control, here are a few links to fuel your break up with the white stuff:

Free site I adore Spark People has a great article on avoiding Sugar Cravings!

One of my favorite blogs Simple Organic has a sugar detox diary you can enjoy here.

And In The Powder Room blog has "Which Came First, the Depression or the Muffin Top?" post.


Haiku Friday Challenge: Cute Overload Guest

A haiku hater sent this link to me so I had to share it in lieu of our standard Haiku Challenge.

Check out Little Nicki "This is My Floor" from Cute Overload!

Friday Haiku: This is My Floor

Years I polished floors
Started with linoleum
It was a dream job
But wait, there is more!

Heather Novak is speaking at P.A.T. about "Life (with toddler) Rules"

I will be speaking for Parents As Teachers  "1 2 3 Magic" training class.  I will open the class with my talk "Life (with toddler) Rules" about the challenges and solutions I use to keep some of my sanity after baby number two.  This class is  Wednesday March 21st at 6:30pm.  You can find out more about that here.

The teaser for that on You Tube is here.

I look forward to learning more about  1 2 3 Magic and as usual sharing my parenting fiascos in a public arena.

Hope you can make it or suggest the class to someone else!

Craftastic! Quick and Easy Easter Centerpiece and Spring Wreath

Every stinkin' time I walk into the Target store, I find stuff I never knew I needed.

Stuff I have to have.

Stuff I do not buy because we choose to live simply and debt free.  Apparently when you live like that you are not supposed to buy crap you do not truly need.

 I wish I did not still WANT the crap I do not need.

Now that I am a Mama, I suddenly have the desire to decorate for the seasons.  Do you know how many decorative seasons there are out there?  WHEW!  Going from zilch in the decoration department save for that high holy Christmas holiday...I feel I have lots of catching up to do.  When I walk through Target or Kohl's or my friend's houses I do not feel I have to keep up, I just see all the fabulousness and possibility.

I want to create wonder and magic for my two little girlies.

I want.  I want. WANT.


(Here is the Leprechaun beard craft Portia and I made last year.)

I skipped St. Patrick's Day decor (we will decorate for you next year, Little red headed leprechaun!) and grabbed Easter by it's little cotton tail.

Here is the Easter centerpiece I put together at Target today.

I put the felt eggs back at first, thinking I could do some kind of decoupage and make my own.  Then I remembered that most of my imagined crafts end up looking like a four year old did them and I just bought the wretched little things.  Ta Da!

Then I saw this wreath I liked and thought....ten bucks?  I can do better...right?  I headed to Michael's on a date night with myself and girded up with supplies.  I have never made a real wreath before, but I liked the way this all looked together.

THEN I caught some whimsy and instead of the feather bird replaced it with...PEEPS for my witty efforts.

Though it cost about $30 to make this instead of $10 for the wood egg wreath made in God Knows Where, I am pleased.  I stretched myself creatively and had fun to boot!

Watch out St Patricks' Day.....I am coming for you next year!

How bout you?  Ever made a wreath?  How did you do it and what pros/cons did you uncover? (Do you have a picture of it?)  I would love to see your ideas.

Tiny Red Kitchen: Free Five Minute Kitchen Makeover

Yup, that is right, I am sharing how you can get a free kitchen makeover in five minutes.  This is something I share during my "Life Rules" parenting talk and I thought today would be a great time to reveal it here:   SHINE YOUR SINK.



It makes a huge difference if you have a small kitchen, but you folks with the cooking show-esque cantinas will enjoy the difference too.  Maybe it is just me, but this is nasty looking.  (And it is just water spots.)

But then check this shot out:
All I did was shine my sink. YEAH.

OK you are right, maybe I don't get out much and maybe in this season of life I get an odd amount of personal satisfaction from creating an inviting home environment.  (On the days when I am not hiding from my kids in the basement laundry piles. Or the days when it looks like the couch threw up a toy store in the living room.)  But this is where I am and I know I am not the only person who will dig the results. 

You have to empty the sink and the dishwasher anyway, so just do it.  If you cannot afford a maid do this yourself and for yourself. Stop procrastinating and just do the little things NOW.

Here is how you too can have a free five minute kitchen makeover:

  1. Wash dirty dishes ASAP
  2. Put them away ASAP  
  3. Empty the dishwasher ASAP
  4. Shine your now empty kitchen sink till it gleams
    1. Wash it thoroughly & scrape scuzz from cracks and crevices
    2. Dry it with a dishtowel
    3. Wipe it down with mineral or baby oil to repel drips and spotting
    4. Dry it out after each use to keep it fabulous all week

I learned about this from the FABULOUS Fly Lady website, check out all the other simple and sanity saving tips she throws around.

Send me YOUR before and afters....would love to see them and hear what you think.

Bodacious Blog of the Week: MUMBLING MOMMY!

Here I am guest blogging over at Mumbling Mommy blog.  They deal with some serious mama issues and the fun things too.  I think I am the court jester of mamahood for them!

Hope you get a kick out of this blog, and soon, so very soon, I will have my first post up, but until then.....Here is a great What Not To Wear snapshot!

Haiku Challenge Friday: Davy Jones Music

Please email me a Haiku Challenge if you would like to be a Guest Challenger. Include the topic, one word to work with and your starting Haiku poem.

A group of friends and I did this many years ago when I was toiling away at a desk. We called it Haiku Challenge and someone would start with three words and we would all Haiku our hearts out using those three words in our haiku. It was tricky, consuming and TRES hilarious. To make it simpler here and encourage new folks to play along, there is just one word to include in your haikus.

A Haiku is a three line poem with 5 syllables the first line, 7 syllables the second line and 5 again for the last line. My Dad is a BIG Haiku guy, he loves them and many of us have encouraged him to publish them in a book. I do it randomly and rarely but always enjoy the process. It usually starts with an idea or a moment in life I want to capture.

Haiku Challenge participants...just write your haiku in the comments!

Here is this week's challenge Haiku:

Hey Hey Davy Jones
your music and joy will live
sorry to loose you

Your word to use is:  Jones

Let's hear your haiku!

Heather Novak is Speaking at First Unitarian Church in Hobart, Indiana THIS SUNDAY!

I am speaking this Sunday at 11:00am at the First Unitarian Church in Hobart, Indiana. 

I am doing the sermon "Curious Life, Messy Spirituality" about how being raised Unitarian shapes and informs my liberal Christian faith. 

This is one of the first talks I am offering where the public is welcome since it is in a church.  
Even if you aren't the churchy type consider coming as the Unitarian church is 'anything goes' in the belief department.  From Pagan to atheist  to Christian or any other belief or lack thereof this is a very open minded church.  

You can find more information and directions to the church here.

Hope to see some of you local folks there, all of you are invited.

(Just in case you do not hear/read me talking enough!  LOL.)

Want Mouthwatering & Intimate Dining: Meditrina Restaurant Valparaiso Indiana

When my hubs and I first moved to Valparaiso in April of 2010 our first meal was Middle Eastern.  Portia had just started to walk and I remember the day we closed on the house I was sitting on the hardwood floor of the tiny sunroom chock full of windows watching her stagger and toddle through the empty house.  We were waiting for John to bring home carryout for out lunch which we would eat on the floor in our brand new but already happy little house.  He brought home pita bread, hummus, stuffed grape leaves and maybe something else, all of it wonderful!

And The Pita House where it came from closed down about a month later.  Forever.  Leaving us with ....nothing ethnic and unique in town save the awesome chain restaurant Noodles & Company which I wrote about here.

So imagine my delight when I got the first whisperings from Mary at my favorite Blackbird Cafe that the woman who took over their other bakery attempt was doing a Mediterranean restaurant called "Meditrina Market Cafe" I do not know about you, but it takes me awhile to get to things, even if I want to go or get or fix or see them.  And this new restaurant was TINY.  About as big as my fanny;  big for a fanny, small for a restaurant!  Plus they didnt' have highchairs...yet.


Meditrina offers a unique flavor. Traditional Mediterranean cuisine is meant to be shared with lots of variety of flavors and textures.  Its where health and happiness come together! You get the best of both worlds with lean fresh dining for the whole family to enjoy. It's colorful ethnic edge makes it special enough for an intimate night out and convenient to take home.  

The clever thing they did was implant in my little foodie head that they did LOTS OF CARRYOUT.  Aha!  Great marketing for a tiny place that as I would come to find out puts crack in their succulent food so you have to go back.  A lot.  And since it is small and everybody else wants to eat there too (Because the cook and owner Sarah Geary is either really amazing as a chef and pours passionate good things into every morsel or else it is crack she is pouring in.) being able to carry out is brilliant.

Also a plus if you love the food so much you cannot wait to get it home and thus eat it on the curb in front of the restaurant.  In Winter.  I did not do this.


SO anyhoo, I have eaten there three times in the past couple of weeks.  John and I walked by and SMELLED the deliciousness, so we sent an order with friends who were heading there to bring us back some sandwiches.  I had the Chicken Shawerma  sandwich and he had their Meditrina burger. We got the potato salad (not ordinary, loved loved loved it.) and rice as sides so we could try everything. We also ordered an appetizer of bacon wrapped dates. They were very (WOW)!  Everything had a variety of flavors and taste levels.

Within that same week we spent a luscious date night there too.  It was so quaint and intimate, the service was warm and friendly and prompt and the food.....OH!  John asked me AFTER we had snarfled every single bite down if I took a picture of my meal.  How was I supposed to do that when my mouth was full every time it emptied?  The spices and flavors were so intricate and delicious we just ate. I think if I tried to hold John's hand we would have forked me to keep me from sneaking another bite of his entree. 

John did laugh at one point while admiring the ambience and said the decor reminded him of many girls he had dated.  Kind of the Natalie Merchant lover/Faux French style/Empty wine bottle decor/Feminine Happy Stuff.  After he said that I looked  up from my plate of food and looked around and LOVED the decor!  I am that kinda girl, after all.  Here I am with the empty wine bottles...I like 'em.

 He got the special pizza which truly sounded like no big deal...chicken, tomatoes, provolone, aioli.  But when Sarah put it together it transcended and it was fantastic.  I ordered the Beef Shwarma dinner plate.  Again the marinades or cooking process just added a surprising variety of taste and flavor that had us eating too fast and without speaking.  I actually asked if I could snap some pictures of nay meal coming out of the kitchen next.  Here is the hummus appetizer.  I. did. not. sneak a taste.

Then there was the time when I was walking home from the library with my girls and SMELLED THAT SMELL.  (The good kind, lest you mamas grow confused.)  It was coming through an open door of Meditrina Market Cafe.  I whirled around the corner immediately deciding we had to have whatever they could make fast for us to carry out and take home for lunch. They. Were. CLOSED.  It was 10:45 AM and they open at 11:30AM. I was about to sit on the curb and shamelessly weep.

 A guy opened the door and there was some laughter at my expense over my lusty desperation for their food.  Sarah was there and a waitress too.  They actually let me in.  Sarah said she could make me a gyros to go easily even though they were not open, but not to tell anyone.  I said I wouldn't tell and meant it at the time but now I just want you to see how focused on serving their customers they are.  What special treatment!  Check out their newsletter here and Like 'em on Facebook if you are getting hungry.

BUT if you go there when they are closed and drop my name, they may never serve me again.  And if I do not get to eat the tastebud carnival of the Meditrina Market Cafe, life will be a sad sad thing.  So please go, WHEN THEY ARE OPEN, and then drop my name.  (Kind of as payback for them serving me under the table.) And mebbe bring me sumpin' from there?  Even your leftovers?

They are open from 11:30AM-9:30PM Monday through Saturday. You can find this tiny treasure at 24 Washington street(at the corner of Jefferson & Washington) in downtown Valparaiso, Indiana.  And even if you are out of town a bit, take the drive to check them out, have an after dinner coffee at Blackbird Cafe and stroll through the downtown shops.  Good Times.

Hey, when you do go, would you pick me up an order of something?  ANYTHING will be delicious and I will owe you BIGTIME.

Tiny Red Kitchen: "The Husband Cooks" Rachel Ray's Flank Steak & Blue Cheese Biscuits

One night my Husband made dinner.

Oh. My.  Lord.


We eat vegetarian about half the time, but we LOOOVE us some dead animal too.  S'pecially me.  STEAK.  OH!

NOTE:  One of my favorite dates was when we were still dating and we picked a few recipes out of our cookbooks and went to the store for the ingredients and came home to cook it all.  It was so fun and unique and the food choices were adventurous;  Carne Asada recipe like this, and a Moroccan Orange and Olive salad like this.  I go right back to that night every time we are both in the kitchen hip to hip (not in a romantic manner, just because our kitchen is small.  VERY small.  One might call it tiny.  And Red.  Like, The Tiny Red Kitchen.....) and it makes me so very happy.


He made Rachel Ray's Flank Steak with Blue Cheese Biscuits recipe.  Actually I made the biscuits from scratch instead of a box...and learned a fascinating fact:  You want to cut your biscuits gently or else you pinch the dough and keep it from rising!


Lookit how gorgeous.

Well, since my pics are all from my phone I guess the gorgeous only slightly comes through.  Huh.

I just love it when he cooks.  First off he is a great cook, and Second off even though I love to cook in my tiny red kitchen, I still enjoy the occasional night off.  It is also kind of romantic, my man cooking for me and a couple of other girls.  I can never be sure how he will do things and I am old enough to know I better not even THINK of trying to tell him how I would do things if I were him.  Because I am definitely not him.  So I just relax and enjoy the surprise of his subtle twist on things.  And when the steak is delightfully medium rare, JUST LIKE I LOVE IT!  I am happier still because I know I would have overdone the meat.  If I were him cooking it.

And now that I blogged it, sure wish I could have gotten a picture of him in the Betty Crocker ruffled apron.  And I wished I got him to wear an apron that was ruffled.  THAT would be a better post, friends!  Here he is babywearing in the kitchen....LOVE IT!

Does your hubs/beau/random stranger who moved in cook?   Is it better or worse than your efforts?

Haiku Challenge Friday: Mormons & Jesus?

A group of friends and I did this many years ago when I was toiling away at a desk. We called it Haiku Challenge and someone would start with three words and we would all Haiku our hearts out using those three words in our haiku. It was tricky, consuming and TRES hilarious.

A Haiku is a three line poem with 5 syllables the first line, 7 syllables the second line and 5 again for the last line. My Dad is a BIG Haiku guy, he loves them and many of us have encouraged him to publish them in a book. I do it randomly and rarely but always enjoy the process. It usually starts with an idea or a moment in life I want to capture.

Haiku Challenge participants...just write your haiku in the comments of the relevant post!

Please email me a Haiku Challenge if you would like to be a Guest Challenger. Include the three words and your starting Haiku poem.

Here is this week's challenge Haiku:

Mormon visitors
dad talks magic underwear
is Jesus laughing?

Your three words are: Mormon, talks, Jesus

Let's hear your haiku!

FASTING: Sugar Free Day 10 Confessions and Substitutions

(February 28th marks day 10 of my sugar fast.)

My first order of business is to CONFESS:  I have had some "overt" sugar.  Nothing I got all WHEEEEE! about, but sugar nonetheless.  I figure talking this out RIGHT NOW will help me not attack the cookies in the basement RIGHT NOW.  (That was my thighs yelling.)

I have had that Granola Girl Granola.  I justify it as it is cereal, but....it is worthy of confess-ability.  (Not a word, but I like it so there.)

I had a coffee cake like confection at playgroup...buuuut Nicole did beseech as she rarely bakes and who am I not to encourage a girl?  LOL.  It was sweet and yummy but not in the same league as chocolate cake or thirty four chocolate chip cookies.  Or a sleeve of Girl Scout Thin Mints.

So I still feel good and satisfied about my fast.  I'm still struggling not to reward myself with every single one of Portia's potty award M&Ms.....I mean I do go on the potty  every time, folks.  I still hear the sweet siren call of those "darn" thin Mints and Samoa cookies in the freezer.  (Maybe I will tell my family that is why so little laundry is done this week:  TOo tempted by cookies to go into the basement at all.)

I never did plan to omit all sugar, just overt or obvious sugar.  I still eat honey and even a justifying idiot professional like me knows that is still sugar.  But there are actually all kinds of good for you debris in honey, so maybe it is always a step above over-processed white death.

Here are some substitutions I am making for my sugar cravings.  And yeah, some fruit,  You healthy do gooders.  I am substituting some fruit and no IT IS NOT just like dessert.
  • Mixing plain nonfat yogurt with fruit preserves or granola.  In lieu of cake or icecream or suchthelike, this is pretty tasty.               
  • Roly Polys.  We called these nutty balls for eons and couldn't come up with a better less adult humor comical name.  Till now!  This is basically dried fruit of any kind and nuts of any kind worked in a food processor  until it clumps up and can be rolled into balls half the size of a golf ball.   My fav is dried cherries and almonds and unsweetened Hershey's Cocoa Powder.  WOW.  Of course the dried fruit has sugar in it, but for my intent and purposes it works. Plus they are good for you unless you eat the whole batch.  Then you will have all kinds of troubles I don't want to hear about.
  • Honey in tea or on toast really helps when I am about to do a whole lot more caloric sugar damage.
I know to a purist this isn't much of a sugar fast, but this is my deal and I am happy with it.
I am still denying myself and praying and struggling and watching with horror at how big of a deal my sweets are to me.  In a world where people do not have jobs, are sad or lonely, where people go hungry every day....in this world I am still more consumed by my desire for sweets than my desire to do something altruistic and helpful. UGH.

Maybe I should try to raise money for a cause?  Like I won't eat sugar until I raise a certain amount of moolah for charity?  Hmmm.

Pretty sure I would just bust out our checkbook to cover the goal.

(Like NOW so I can eat the M&Ms.)

(And the Thin Mints.)

Oh. God.

Thank you for loving little ol miserable me.

OK, now is it sugar time?