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Friday, December 31, 2010

Flirt With Your Husband Friday: New Year's Eve

What are you doing New Year's Eve?  I love that old song

Since I firmly believe in flirting with my husband (great New Year's resolution eh??) we're going out dancing tonight.  He'll put on a tux.  I'll put on a slinky evening gown, some fancy jewelry and some drop-dead, stop-you-in-your-tracks perfume.
Our dance group rents out a country club.  We have dinner (most of mine will end up as left-overs for lunches this week -- there's always way too much food).  We'll have a glass of champagne at midnight.  And we'll dance until our feet fall off (or until 12:30 when the country club staff will close us down).
Fun.  Elegant.  Very flirty.  See you next year.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Flirt with Your Husband Friday: Christmas Eve

This is my favorite date of the entire year.  (I say that a lot).  Try this --- it is the most fun you will ever have with $10.  This is a lunchtime date --- the mall should close by about 6:00 on Christmas Eve --- plus – we end this one by going to the Christmas Eve Service at our church --- perfect ending.
Take $10 and get it all in $1 bills.  Go to the mall.  Pick the mall that is on the not-so-great side of town. 
Now the mall will be all lit up with Christmas lights, the holiday music will be blaring, and the fake Santa in the main court will be ho-ho-ho-ing away.  And the folks in the mall will be frantic.  These are people who are under stress.  They are either trying desperately to get it all done before the stores close or they are trying to eke out every last penny they can manage before Christmas.  The store staff are not having such a great time either.  They would much rather be making the holiday for their own families rather than dealing with the cranky and crazed last-minute shoppers. 
Watch for all of these folks.  Watch especially for little kindnesses that you can do for about $1.00. 
We’ve bought a cup of coffee for a harried worker, paid the tax for a child shopping for something for mom, and made up the little bit of difference for a desperate mom who was struggling to decide what she would put back on the shelf.  We’ve left an extra tip for a waitress who was fantastic to a pair of wild toddlers and their weary parents.  We’ve even bought a bottle of cold water for a hoarse and exhausted Santa who was still smiling for the camera. 
You’ll be amazed at how much Christmas cheer can be managed for just one dollar.  And I guarantee you’ll be equally amazed at how the spirit of the Season settles in your heart as you slowly spend the whole $10 (its harder than you think --- and it takes longer than you think).  And when you go to church later on and start to sing “Joy to the World, the Lord has come”, don’t say I didn’t warn you if you find tears springing to your eyes and a renewed sense of joy and hope leaping in your heart.  

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas: Staying Sane

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's Here: Christmas Week has Come!

Its here, its really here.  (I can’t decide if the intonation on that should be child-like excitement or moaning dread)  Ready or not, Christmas week is here.  The final preparations are ready to be made. 
Here’s what I have left to do:
Write out the menus for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so that everyone knows what’s going on and no one eats something I NEED.
Clean the house --- one final serious cleaning so that everything shines.
Set up the extra table as a server in the dining room.
Bake the pies
Set out the canned goods and dry goods for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinner. 
Set the table and label all the serving dishes
Defrost the frozen treats
Actually cook

Friday, December 17, 2010

Flirt With Your Husband Friday: Decorating the Christmas Tree

We flirted around decorating the tree this year.  We have collected ornaments from all of our travels.  Our tree includes, a German cuckoo clock ornament, carved wooden nativity scenes from Spain, a pair of traditional dolls from the Czech Republic, a kilted Scottish Santa, and cloisonné ornaments from Hong Kong.  Of course, there is the ornament from the Peninsula Hotel where we went for afternoon tea and made a donation to charity and received a gold Peninsula Hotel ornament to sign and hang on THEIR tree.  (we carefully wrapped it in a napkin and took it home for OUR tree).  We have the gaudy pink flamingo from our friends Jon and Em’s wedding in Sanibel.  And our latest addition to the collection, the set of bookmarks we bought on the street in Seoul last Christmas when we visited there. 
We made hot chai, pulled out a few cookies, and some crackers and cheese and took a long leisurely stroll down memory lane.  We laughed and talked and remembered all of the very, very good times that these ornaments represent.  We chuckled over the handmade ornaments given to us by beloved young hands.  We compared the photos of our dogs, same breed, such different dogs, that grace two dog ornaments on our tree.  We marveled at the melding of two family traditions, ornaments from each of our families that now live gracefully, side by side on our tree. 
In short, we connected.  And isn’t that what flirting with your husband is all about?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wrapping Party

I told you last week that I host a wrapping party.  This is one of the most fun events of the season for me.  Here’s how it works: 
Invite a couple of girlfriends to join you for this.  Not too many people.  I’ve found that 3-5 is a perfect number.  More than that , and it gets a little crazy. 
Everyone brings:
All of the holiday gifts they need to wrap
Rolls of wrapping paper --- how many is determined by the size of the family they represent --- be fair. 
A couple of rolls of tape (you’d be amazed how fast you go through tape)
Ribbons, bows and other embellishments (make sure at least one friend is someone sort of crafty – they’ll be able to make magic with some ribbon, a doily, and a cheesy dollar store ornament --- believe me, I know)

That’s it ---- then you all spend the evening  helping each other wrap gorgeous presents, chatting and enjoying the company, and oohing and aahing over the gifts you’re giving to your loved ones.  It makes the chore of wrapping all of those gifts into a fun girls-night-out. 

Since each gal is only bringing a few rolls of wrapping paper, you can afford to spring for beautiful, gorgeous, lavish paper.  We usually find that some drop-dead ribbons and embellishments arrive as well.  The craftier among us usually trade embellishing for basic wrapping duties --- in other words --- “I’ll wrap your gifts if you’ll decorate mine”.  Everyone ends up with fantastic looking Christmas gifts (even your husband will believe in elves again) and has fun in the process. 

As the hostess, I provide some basic refreshments --- a tray of cookies from the Cookie Exchange, some cocoa, some wine (every girl’s night out deserves some wine) and a small tray of cheese, crackers and fruit. 

I put on the Christmas music and rock the house.  Three hours later, the house is a disaster of ribbon scraps, sticky paper pieces, and abandoned projects.  But the pile of wrapped gifts is a sight to behold.  We’re all happy, in the holiday spirit, and able to move on and focus on making the rest of the holiday a joy.  What could be better than that???

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas: Wrapping Party

I got a couple of questions about what I do with the mountain of cookies that I take home from the cookie exchange. 
Three things:
  • 1.     I host a wrapping party for a couple of girlfriends.  I’ll give you all of the details on that one next week.  But for now --- the refreshments are taken care of --- we’re having cookies, of course.
  • 2.     I bag up little bags of assorted cookies and tie them off with some ribbon, a jingle bell, an a package of Land O Lakes hot cocoa mix (only because it comes in pretty colored foil packages that look beautiful)  Now I have a little gift to hand to someone who does me a kindness during the holiday season.  The mailman usually ends up with one, the UPS delivery guy, sometimes my neighbor who has rescued my blowing packages and receipts more than once – anyone at all.  They’re right there, beautiful and ready to go. 
  • 3.     We host an Open House after Christmas.  This is an easy gathering to host, and everyone enjoys the relaxed atmosphere after the rush of the holidays is over.  The bulk of the cookies from the cookie exchange go into the freezer for a couple of weeks until we’re ready for the Open House.  Then a platter full of cookies and great steaming mugs of hot cocoa make for a casual, fun and yummy dessert “buffet”.  

Friday, December 10, 2010

Flirt with Your Husband Friday: Build Gingerbread Houses

Build a Gingerbread house together --- yeah, just the two of you --- without the kids.  Or build a whole village out of graham crackers.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Are You Ready??

Are you getting ready??? I mean that both ways --- You can’t appreciate the wonder of Christmas if you don’t get ready in the physical reality.  At this time of the year, I always think about the story of Mary and Martha in the Bible.  Mary sat at Jesus feet and just drank it in.  Martha bustled around the house, preparing the meal, seeing to the needs of the guests, serving --- all the Martha stuff.  Finally, Martha had a meltdown.  She demanded that Jesus tell Mary to get herself in the kitchen and help.  Jesus didn’t.  He told Martha that Mary had made the better choice. 
What did he mean by that??? Did he mean to forget about hospitality and tradition and eating and being together??  I hardly think so.  But most of what was making Martha crazy could have been done ahead of time --- and then Martha could have relaxed and enjoyed Jesus and the rest of the company too.  Mary decided that good-enough was good enough.  She sat down, had a glass of wine with the Master and enjoyed the party.  Martha ran around like a chicken with her head cut off and then got all caught up in resentment. 
I really believe in the gift of Martha --- the talent and skill for hosting and making people feel welcome and wonderful --- without the grudging resentment that messed it all up.  I’m working on cutting back on some of my ideas about perfection and tradition for Christmas, but I’m not there yet.  So I’m working on getting ready.  I’m working on planning ahead and doing things ahead so I can sit back with a glass of wine and enjoy the party. 
Here’s what I’m tackling this week to be ready:
Baking and freezing some really yummy treats --- they’ll pull out of the freezer in a flash when I need them. 
Washing all of the Christmas dishes – just a run through the dishwasher when I don’t need them --- it will take the pressure off later. 
Plan the menu --- this is it.  I’m out of time to shop around for bargains for our celebration.  I need to take stock and start a serious plan. 
Make a playlist on the Ipod – I want Christmas music playing for our celebration, but I’m going to scream if Alvin and the Chipmunks starts playing ---- so I’ll make my own playlist and control that right up front. 

Monday, December 06, 2010

Christmas: Cookie Exchange

Yeah, we’re having a cookie swap where I work.  And Yeah, I’m definitely participating (you’re surprised??? Have we met??)  This is a simple cookie swap.  Everyone bakes 6 dozen cookies of their choice.  You sign up and put what kind of cookie you’re making.  If you want to do something “normal” like Toll House or Peanut Butter, you’d better be one of the first souls to sign up. 

On the designated day, everyone comes together with trays and platters of cookies.  A quick walk around the table (it feels a little like musical chairs, except the Christmas music never stops)  and everyone has a new platter with a wonderful assortment of holiday cookies to take home with them. 

My friend Louise is the organizer of this event (God bless Louise) but if you’re thinking about having a cookie swap, you can find some great printable organizers here. 
Don’t forget to grab some of the cookie tray cellophane covers at the Dollar Store – this is the only time of the year that they’re easy to find.  Stock up now – it will make getting that platter of cookies to and from the cookie exchange much easier.  

Friday, December 03, 2010

Flirt With Your Husband Friday: Christmas Lights

You won’t believe what I’m going to suggest now.  This is one of my favorite cheap dates in December.  Pack up a thermos of hot chocolate and some of the leftover holiday cookies and go drive around looking at the wild and crazy displays of holiday decorations that some people display. 
In our area, one of the parks does a huge a drive-through display of lights and scenes.  You pay $5.00 a carload (don’t load the car, just the two of you, please) and drive through the park while the lights blink and flash and cheesy Christmas music plays over tinny loudspeakers. 
But we also like to just take a ride and look at the lights.  We enjoy the simple, tasteful displays as much as the showy, blinky ones.  One house that we adore always does simple candles in the windows, wide red swaths at the door and a plain evergreen wreath on the front door.  It is some simple that it’s breathtaking. 
There are also a couple of houses with blinding displays of moveable figures, flashing colored lights and whtever else they can manage to put on the expanse of lawn.  Sometimes we think we should make a contribution to the electric bill (can you imagine??) 
This year, the internet is making this date a whole lot easier.  Just go to  to find pictures, and a search function.  You can find homes with crazy light displays in your town and make your own tour.  Take the camera and you can upload photos of what you find to the site as well.  Just be aware --- this site has an eyeblinding 10,000 bulb minimum to be included. And if you find your home on the site --- well --- would you like a donation to the electric bill??

Monday, November 29, 2010

Starting the Pilgrimage of Advent

Today started Advent.  Recently, I had the privilege of listening to my friend Janet give the sermon for the morning.  She said some deep things about getting ready for Advent --- she said I could share: 

A few weeks ago the certain signs began to appear that the Holiday season is fast approaching. Advertisements for old games with a new twist like monopoly on DVD began appearing. But last week the signs were really clear and now there is no denying that the folks in commercial land want us to immediately jump into the holiday spirit of Christmas shopping with no reservations. But, wait a minute, I’m not there yet, I’m not even sure if I’m ready for Thanksgiving. Frankly, I’m not sure where I am at all. In just 2 weeks we celebrate the first Sunday in Advent. When I was a child Christmas couldn’t come soon enough. My heart and mind were ready and open to jump right in but as an adult I have accumulated burdens, I have reservations. I need more preparation. I need solitude and quiet, time to contemplate and prepare myself as if for a pilgrimage towards Christmas morning.

I love the idea of going on a pilgrimage like people did in the middle ages. It is a journey to prepare oneself to receive a gift of the sacred. Just think of what it must have been like living on a farm and dreaming about journeying to a Cathedral like Chartre in France. Imagine the excitement and anticipation as well as the fear of the unknown. On a pilgrimage every step is sacred and a step towards drawing closer to God. Some even make pilgrimages on their hands and knees. There is an expectation on a pilgrimage that you will encounter danger but also epiphanies and renewed hope. The gain far outweighs the danger. A pilgrimage is as much about the journey as it is the destination.

A pilgrimage is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding our vision of what is possible, stretching our soul, learning to see deeply, listening with our intuition, and taking courageous steps.

Told you ---- so --- are you ready for a pilgrimage this Advent?? I can’t wait to see what we’ll discover, how I’ll change and grow.  

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Give Thanks

Give thanks.  What a simple directive.  What a difficult accomplishment. 
How fitting that we set aside one day to work on nothing except giving thanks (well, aside from the working of the cooking and the frantic battle-planning for the Black Friday assault)
I thought that this year, I would just bullet a handful of things I’m incredibly thankful for:
A husband who loves me and puts up with me and sometimes even embraces my quirkiness (I’m sticking by calling it “quirkiness, thank you very much)
A beloved friend who would strangle me if I named him here, who has demonstrated more character and courage in recent months than any seven people I know and who has been accused repeatedly of lacking both. 
The presence of young children in our lives who see clearly through all of the nonsense that tangles up the adults and deal with people directly and authentically
A job that not only pays the bills, it makes me glad to go to work
A safe, happy, warm home that welcomes me and provides respite for my soul
Friends and colleagues who are not afraid to tell me when I’m going off the deep end and are not afraid to join me there occasionally
Edy’s Apple Pie Ice Cream (preferably with a drizzle of caramel sauce, but plain is fine)
A dog who has learned to trust (finally) and who has taught us more about trust than we ever dreamed possible
Fine, faithful friends who try their very best to “get it right” in the face of impossible obstacles and who love and appreciate us for simply standing with them

Yep --- give thanks ---- its good for the soul.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Flirt With Your Husband Friday: Go Dancing

Go Dancing!  Its old-fashioned, romantic and usually quite a cheap date. 
We started taking ballroom dancing lessons a number of years ago.  Its become something we love to do.  As my beloved often puts it: “a few hours with the woman I love in my arms…. What could be wrong with that??” 
Even if you don’t have a few years of lessons under your belt, go dancing.  Find a romantic venue – not just some bar or club, please.  Dress up a little bit.  One of the beautiful things about most of the dances we attend is that the women dress to the nines, while the men are generally dressed in more of a classy casual style.  We ladies get to indulge out love of ruffles, glittery things, and swirly dresses.  The guys get to be comfortable – lots of monochromatic shirt/pants looks --- and no one wears a tie!  Eveyone is happy. 
One of the new places to dance that we’re enjoying is the Morgan Mansion, Ventfort Hall.  This is an amazing restored Gilded Age Mansion.  Right now, they’re trying out hosting dancing on Saturday nights, once a month.  
If you click through and look through the photos, you’ll get an idea of why this zings my romance strings.  It’s a beautiful venue and a lovely evening of dancing and just enjoying each other.  Its an extravagant date without the extravagant price tag.  Dancing at Ventfort Hall – use photos from their website

Friday, November 12, 2010

Flirt With Your Husband Friday: Send a Telegram

Send a telegram including the old-fashioned STOP instead of periods to anyone for $5.65.  At this nostalgic site, you type in your message, preview your telegram, and click SEND.  Within 4-8 business days, your receipient will receive his surprise.  Alas, it is delivered by regular mail truck, not pony express or a running messenger. Go here to try it out:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

First Snow!

It snowed this week for the first time this year.  It wasn’t that light fluffy snow that clings to the branches and makes everything look magical.  This was that grainy, icy snow that freezes everything and erases all hope of salvaging anything in the garden.  But it was pretty nonetheless. 

Monday, November 08, 2010

The Wedding

We had a wedding this weekend.  It was truly lovely.  I’ll let it speak for itself. 


Friday, November 05, 2010

Flirt With Your Husband Friday: At a Wedding...

We’ll be at a wedding this weekend --- my husband’s son’s wedding to be precise.  And I’m planning to flirt with my husband at this wedding.  I’m planning to show him just how very glad I am that we had our own wedding --- and that I married HIM. 
I plan to hold his hand for most of the ceremony. 
I plan to squeeze his hand and shoot him little lovey glances during the vows.  The words won’t be quite the same as ours, but the thoughts and ideas will be the same. 
I also plan to dance with my husband quite a bit at the reception.  And if things work out, I’m planning to snuggle against him while we watch the new married couple dance. 
And after the wedding is over --- I might be planning to re-enact our wedding night --- but I’m not telling. 
Face it – weddings are a great chance to flirt with your husband.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I have a lovely friend who is all crazy about the Twilight series.  I’ll admit I read the entire series (including the two mongraphs that came out later)  I haven’t seen the movies, and have no desire to see them.  The books, I found disturbing ---- but each of us has different tastes ---- and Sue loves these books.  She loves everything about the story and finds it intensely romantic. 
So, for Halloween, I agreed that I’d help plan a Twilight party.  It turned out to be a great deal trickier than I thought --- When one thinks of vampires and werewolves, one gets a rather dark image – lots of black and burgundy colors.  But in the Twilight books, the descriptions of the vampires is all very light – lots of white, they shimmer in the sunlight.  The Cullen’s house has lots of windows, white walls, beautiful and elegant furnishings.  How, on earth, to mix the two images and come up with a party that would leave Sue satisfied. 
First, a quick browse around the internet yielded this gorgeous tablescape 
--- a vision of the wedding scene come to life.  I LOVE it.  It is gorgeous, elegant, simple, tasteful ---- absolutely beautiful.  Could I borrow some of this and mix in a few “darker” elements in the food and drink and come up with a smashing vampire party for Halloween? 
What about a menu of rare roast beef --- bloody roast beef, if you pardon the image for a moment.  Serve it with a gorgeous beet salad (I’m loving the red without being too gory). 
Appetizers??? Maybe crudite with baked brie?? All that melty, oozy goodness can’t go wrong --- its light and white --- we could play on the “vegetarian” joke in the book.  If we bake the brie with a cranberry chutney, it would carry out the red theme and the contrast between the burgundy color of the chutney and the creamy pale cheese would be absolutely beautiful. 
Dessert?? Apples --- how could it be anything else?? But something subtle here, I think --- Sliced sautéed apples with a light caramel sauce and a little dab of vanilla ice cream or even crème fraiche.  Serve them in martini glasses to give it a little kick. 
Tie the whole thing together with two kinds of sangria --- white and red, of course.  And set the table, using the inspiration photo, with lots of white dishes, white linens, hydrangeas, green apples with the occasional deep red apple thrown in for contrast. 
What do you think, Sue??? Beautiful??  Twilighty??? Fun.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Flirt With Your Husband Friday: Hike in the Woods

We’re heading out to the woods today.  I’ve packed the insulated backpack with ham and cheese sandwiches on onion rolls (makes the plain old ham and cheese just a tiny bit more special).  I’ve tucked in bottles of lemon seltzer, a few cookies, a small bunch of grapes, and some cucumber chips.  That should be enough to keep us happy. 
We get so much use out of that insulated back pack.  I wish I could recall who gifted us with it.  When we first received it,  I’ll confess, I thought it was silly and fairly useless.  And, I suppose for its intended use, it is.  It doesn’t hold enough for a real picnic and the wine holder sleeve that attaches to the side makes it bulky and awkward.  But for taking a little picnic hiking or biking, it can’t be beat.  I freeze a water bottle or two and place them in the bottom of the bag to act as ice packs (and drinks at the end of the trail) and then add a light lunch for two.  The backpack slings nicely onto my husband’s strong shoulders and we’re off.  Our backpack has been on countless bike rides and hikes through the woods.  I can’t imagine what we ever did before it. 
So today, its going hiking.  We’re off to the woods.  We’ll hike (and try not to get lost).  We’ll take a few photos of the changing leaves.  We’ll find a quite spot with a fallen tree or two for our picnic lunch.  And the world will stop just for us for a few hours.  Bliss.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Pasta with Sweet Potato

Pasta with Sweet Potato
We’ve long enjoyed the classic Rigatoni with Broccoli, Olive Oil and Garlic --- this is just a little fall twist on that classic taste.  We’re subbing in Sweet Potato for the Broccoli and adding a little bit of oregano to jazz it up.  Since the herb garden is coming to its very end, this will use up the last of my oregano, I think.  Try it:
·      4-5 small/medium sweet potatoes
·      1 box of chunky pasta (we like Rigatoni – but whatever you like)
·      Olive oil
·      Fresh garlic – sliced or chopped – your preference.
·      Stalks of fresh oregano
·      Parmesan cheese – grated (not the green box!!)
Bake the sweet potatoes for about an hour in a 375 oven.  You want them still firm, but cooked. 
Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box
When you drain it – keep about ¼ cup of the cooking water to mix with the dish later.
Heat some olive oil in your skillet --- add the garlic slices and cook until they just begin to turn golden colored. 
Add the oregano and heat for just a minute or so – to infuse the flavor
Cut the sweet potatoes into 1/8 sections and quickly peel each section. 
Pour the drained pasta and the peeled sweet potato chunks into a large mixing bowl. 
Add the oil/garlic/oregano mixture and the pasta water (if you need it – I sometimes don’t)
Toss and serve with lots of parmesan

Friday, September 24, 2010

Flirt With Your Husband Friday: Breakfast Date

This is the time of year when I love having a breakfast date.  There’s something about fall that makes breakfast at our favorite coffee shop a real treat. 
For us, for this particular treat, it has to be a morning with the luxury of time, and the absence of real hunger ----- because there is no real, serious breakfast involved.  Oh, there are mornings when we go out for breakfast at some lovely restaurant and have omelets or French toast.  But this fall breakfast date is not that. 
We’ll go to Chocolate Springs and nestle into the sofa at the far end of the room.  They’ll have the pecan buns from Wheatleigh.  They are amazing.  Its probably a good thing that I can’t get my hands on the recipe – but if Gourmet magazine ever wants to print that recipe, I’ll be happy to clip it out and laminate it. 
We’ll bring the paper and browse through together, noticing articles and announcements that would otherwise skitter past unnoticed.  We’ll chat and read little bits of interesting articles to each other.  We’ll giggle at comics, silly photos, grammatical errors and more.
Several cups of hot steamy chai and coffee later, we’ll sigh, and begin to gather our things to leave.  We’ll return to the mundane --- go grocery shopping, take the car to the car wash, and return the bottles to get our deposits back.  But for that hour or so in the coffee shop, with sticky buns and steaming drinks --- we’re lost in our own little romantic world. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Flirt With Your Husband Friday: Last Patio Dinner

Our date this week will be one last dinner out on the patio.  Soon, the weather will be too cold to enjoy eating out there.  And the time will soon arrive to put the outdoor furniture under wraps to protect it from the winter’s cold and snow.  But for now, one last crazy dinner out under the stars suits me fine. 
Since the weather is already beginning to chill in the evenings, we’ll plan some warm comfort food.  I’m thinking about maybe a hearty quiche.  They’re one of my favorite ways to use up leftovers --- a nice eggy custard in pie crust filled with whatever bits of vegetables I have from the fridge.  I’ll add a bowl of soup beside it.  Its time to break out the crock pot and start my fall/winter ritual of weekly pots of soup. 
We’ll light the tiki torches, not for the bugs – they’re gone for the season – but for the flickering flames --- romance ---- and warmth.  Our friends recently inherited one of those fire pits that acts like a free-standing outdoor fireplace.  I’m not willing to pay actual money for one --- but I love the idea.  If anyone would like to bequeath a fire pit to me, I’ll happily accept. I might even start keeping my eye open for one at tag sales and such.  I wonder if I could extend the use of the patio by a few weeks with a fire pit???
We’ll sit and huddle together over hot tea and coffee and just enjoy being together.  We’ll talk about our day, wonder about the craziness of the world around us, and re-connect in that profound and simple way that knits couples together. 
I’ll sit on my patio and flirt with my husband.  Does life get any better??

Monday, September 13, 2010

Assistant Wanted: Virtual Need Apply

With school having started, my to-do list is getting longer and longer.  Things are in serious danger of not making it onto a “list” and just hoping I’ll remember them.  Clearly, this is not going to work for me.  And it is going to be one very long school year if I don’t find a better way. 
Since I have an IPhone (who’s potential I clearly don’t maximize”) I thought I’d try getting a little more work out of it.  I’ve been looking at personal organizers and virtual assistants. 
I tried Cozi.  It gives you a calendar, to-do lists and more.  It will email your calendar to you each week (even after you decide you don’t want it anymore). And its free. But it doesn’t sync with the IPhone – only with Blackberries and other such smartphones.  So it didn’t help me “on the run”. 
I’m looking now at Jott.  For $3.95 a month Jott will let me phone in messages and reminders to myself and send them back to me as emails.  It will add things to my calendar and set reminder alarms on the calendar for me.  Jott does a bunch of other things too – like converting voicemails to text messages – that I’m not sure I need or want. 
Also on my list of possible hires is Toodledo.  Toodledo is basically a to-do list dream for the Iphone.  It lets me keep a list of to-dos, prioritize them, keep track of due dates etc.  It will sync with ICal (good) and with most other applications known to man.  And its free. 
Next candidate:  RemembertheMilk.  This one also is a steroidal to-do list.  It lets you make lists, set due dates, prioritize tasks etc.  It syncs with googlemaps so you can use the GPS function on the IPhone with it (not sure how useful I’ll find that one, but you never know).  Its free too (like that price)  The only thing I don’t think I like about it is that it looks like you have to email tasks to yourself rather than just add them directly. 
I’m still interviewing --- the freebies may get a probationary period.  I’ll let you know who I hire.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Flirt With Your Husband Friday: Lunchboxes

Do you pack your husband’s lunch?? Or maybe he packs yours??? (I’ll confess, I’m a spoiled princess who has her lunch packed for her every Monday morning --- talk about love.)  But I leave designated leftovers in the fridge for his lunch all the time ---
However the lunch deal works itself out in your family, it can be a time to flirt shamelessly. 
The next time you’re at the dollar store or the clearance rack of office supplies,  grab some of the adorable shaped post-it notes.  Not just the heart shaped ones, they’re obvious – try the Hawaiian shirt ones, or the bright yellow star shaped ones.  The unusual  post it notes make for great little love notes in a lunch box or even left in the fridge on the leftovers container. 
Whether you choose simple sweet notes:  “I love you”, or even just drawing hearts all over that Hawaiian shirt note --- or choose something a little more seductive --- “this shirt wouldn’t stay on you long if I were there” (okay, really cheesy, I know) – a little love note will give him a smile.  And isn’t that what flirting is all about??? It makes you smile --- and smile ---- and smile……..

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Deep Dish Quiche

I’m almost ready to work the oven again.  The heat of summer is dissipating and we’re ready for hearty foods once again.  We’re still hosting guests fairly regularly, so I’m looking at quiches and frittatas for breakfasts.  This one caught my eye.  Its hearty, yummy and not your usual quiche
Deep Dish Quiche
Olive oil for the pan
1 onion sliced thinly
garlic (to taste)
1 package of baby spinach
dash of salt
refrigerated pie crust (I do NOT make my own pie crust anymore – Pillsbury’s is good)
1 jar of roasted red peppers
1 lb of mushrooms sliced and cooked
6 oz cheese
4 eggs
1 cup of milk
½ tsp dried rosemary crushed

Preheat the oven to 350 (always)
Using your large skillet (mine is cast iron) – heat a little olive oil and sauté the onions and garlic until softened
Add the spinach, and salt and pepper.  Cook until wilted.  Drain off any excess liquid
Using a springform pan (trust me on this one) line the pan with the piecrust.  Make sure to come up the sides – that’s the point of “deep dish”
Spread half of the vegetables (all of them) over the bottom of the crust.  Top with half of the cheese
Repeat the layers so you have 4 layers in all
Beat the eggs and milk together. Add the rosemary
Pour over the vegetables and cheese
Bake for 50-60 minutes (until a knife comes out clean)

Monday, September 06, 2010

Labor Day

--- Aaaah, Labor Day.  Its such a bittersweet weekend.  On the one hand, it’s a long, three-day weekend with time to relax and enjoy.  On the other hand, it is the harbinger of fall, the exclamation mark on summer.  School is back in session.  The weather is beginning to hint at changes.  The beach is surely done for the season. 
But it also the promise of fall.  The whisper of changing leaves, crisp mornings, apple picking and pumpkins.  There is so much to look forward to. 
One of the wonders of living in the Northeast is the drama of the changing seasons.  Fall is incredibly different than summer or winter.  It holds wonder and joy that is all its own.  Labor Day can be a day to mourn the loss of summer ---- or it can be a welcoming and anticipation of the arrival of autumn.  The glass can be half full if we allow it to be.