• Messy Chef

    The Messy Chef-Name that breakfast tune

    Mess but we can clean up later. Just throw everything into the dishwasher, spray down the counters, and voila!

    I love breakfast.  We enjoy our time as a family and sit down without distractions.  On non school days, we even play music and learn about various musical genres.  My husband and I used to play this game in the car where he would try to teach me about music and have me guess the artist.  I usually guessed Metallica or Smashing Pumpkins.  I don’t know why I was just terrible at it and had no idea about music.  So I would throw out something ridiculous to get him to just tell me who it was.  I think he is trying to teach our daughters to “name that tune” or artist better than I did.  Fun Fact: my dad was a radio DJ when I was very young at a local radio station so me not knowing about music was just embarrassing.  One of our favorite breakfasts is pancakes with Bacon.  I have; however, in the last few years really tried to reduce the amount of gluten, processed foods and refined sugar in our diets so I have found something that fits that bill and is filling.



    I put out the fruit first so that they can enjoy, no one is hangry, and again I’ll leave the kitchen for later. We want to have fun!!

    Cassava Flour pancakes from Paleohacks website –





    I usually double this recipe so that we can have leftovers for a quick school day breakfast one day during the week.

    1/4 cup almond milk- If out just use water

    3 eggs- I use pastured eggs

    1 tbsp Honey- I use raw honey

    1/2 tsp baking soda

    3/4 cup Cassava flour

    1/4 tsp salt

    1/4 coconut oil

    1. Whisk the eggs
    2. Add the melted coconut oil, almond milk or water, and honey.  Mix well
    3. Add the cassava flour, baking soda and salt.  Here is where we found mixing it with a hand mixer makes the batter more uniform and the pancakes fluffier.  Rather than just mixing by hand
    4. Scoop to desired size on a griddle or buttered skilled until golden brown and cooked through- we keep warm in the oven while cooking the batch.


    With that we serve a ton of fresh fruit that I put out for the kids ahead of time, chopped nuts and then maple syrup or almond butter spread on top.

    The adults have coffee because we also have a coffee shop business so we can’t enjoy ourselves in the morning without a deliciously brewed coffee.  Our youngest, Fiona, had a sip when we were out once and liked it.  Since she’s too young to have more than a sip, we’ll wait to someday enjoy fabulous coffee with her.

    Finally, we serve uncured bacon on the side which is baked in the oven.  A friend told me that she makes hers in a skillet and I was befuddled because in the oven, the pan catches the grease for easy cleanup and you save your stove and counters.  Because if I did it on the stove, the name Messy Chef would totally be earned.  Grease would be everywhere.  On the windows, one the walls  . . . . . I don’t know that we’ll ever play Lil Jon but maybe when their older who knows. 😉


    Most of the pantry items I buy from Thrive Market. They have great prices and for every membership that is purchased, they gift a membership to someone who needs it through their nonprofit partners.





  • Messy Chef

    The Messy Chef

    My husband has always called me the Messy Chef. Why?!?!?


    • I don’t chop veggies and remove the bits of waste as I go.  The cutting board or plate (whatever is handy) is messy and sometimes wet because I don’t shake out the excess water very well.  In fact, the whole counter top is wet
    • I don’t have things measured out into little bowls to add to recipe.  I measure the seasoning and spices out as I go or just eye ball it.
    • I clean up when I’m all done and not as I go
    • I tend to multitask and not just focus on the cooking- occasionally burning things and causing the smoke detector to go off and my children to find “smoke helmets”

    However, I still get the title of chef because I am good at what I make.  I make nutritious, delicious food and still hold out that I will make enough someday that I can have a real chef cook for me but until my retirement from making meals, I will still hold the title of messy chef.

  • 'Ole Girls Club

    Study – Don’t Compare


    I think we all have a problem comparing some aspect of our lives to other people at some time in our lives or another.  But doing this is so painful.  When you’re comparing, you’re leaving the present and trying to put yourself into some alternative reality.  Now if you want a different reality, that’s fine, but then make a plan to get there.


    Another thing to remember is  that if you have exactly what they have, you have their life, and not yours which may sound good for a second but I’m sure there are a lot of things about your own life that you wouldn’t want to give up.  Once you start thinking about a significant other, kids, pets, family, talent etc etc that you have, you’ll be grateful for what you do have. Instead of comparing and having that burning feeling in your belly, that cold sweat of not achieving enough, get out a notebook, a phone app, or a giant piece of poster board and start taking notes of the things that you do want and are what is working for someone else.  Study those people who you would like to emulate or who have the things that you think you want.  See what they are up to and look to them to give you clues but don’t feel jealous (while this is hard) because you are trying to take from their joy.  Let them shine and learn how you can too!


    Tim Ferris is a great example of someone who is very successful.  He has learned many things by talking to other even more successful people for his books, podcasts, and social media posts,.  He enjoys talking with them and learning from them.  He doesn’t say “I wish I were Tony Robbins.”  Instead, he figures out how he can talk to Tony Robbins and learn from him to improve his own Tim Ferris life and the life of his audience.


    Also when you are sending out these negative thoughts it’s like you are sending negative mojo to these people who you are comparing yourself to.  If you actually wrote down these thoughts and sent them to this person, you would be embarrassed and it would sound pretty mean (at least some thoughts I have had are pretty rude.  I am embarrassed when I catch myself).


    I have done a lot of listening and watching my young daughters recently and they are constantly learning from other people.  They trace a picture to learn to draw.  They follow along with a song or poem to learn to read.  They watch the figure skater to learn to skate and say “I want to do that too.”  They don’t ever wish that skill away from someone so that they can have it. They get that they can have it too.  The get that they should be happy for the other’s success and hard work.  So we should follow their lead and study but not compare.


    Because isn’t life a journey of studying and learning. So don’t worry about when you get somewhere because if you check everything off of your list now then what?!?!?  What fun do you have for the future.  So enjoy the learning.  Enjoy the studying and keep finding new things to reach for.  If you think of it that way, you’ll never lose your zest for learning and improving.

  • life

    Eat Dessert First

    I have always liked to savor my food and take the perfect last bite of food.  Weird, I know, but I would often save that last yummy bite of pie or juicy slice of peach for the very last.  Well over the years, I found that I would over eat because I was overly full by the time that I got to the last bit of food and definitely by the last bite.


    I was always told to do the homework or work that I liked the least first to “get it over with”  You know, complete the homework in the  the subject that I didn’t like or struggled with, and then I could focus on what I liked.  Do my chores around the house then I could relax.  What I found over the years is that I didn’t then relax.  Instead I watched mindless tv or was exhausted.  So instead of enjoying my math home, in my case, I just wanted to get everything done because now it was ALL a chore.  When I have housework to do, I would clean or organize, but then when I wanted to write or be creative, I would “poop out”


    I started reading these Miracle Morning Books.  One in particular, Miracle Mornings for Parents and Families by Lindsay and Mike McCarthy and Hal Elrod basically states to get up and have some time to yourself to mediate, write, exercise and plan out your goals. The Book doesn’t  say to mop, scrub toilets, balance your checkbook,make a doctor’s appointment first thing.  And all of these things that sound like they would take forever, can be done in 5-10 when necessary so you can get into the right mindset everyday.  One day, I exercised and wrote first thing.  Then when my husband said that we had to do some mundane thing around the house because it was some special trash pickup it was actually relaxing and kind of enjoyable.  My daughter told me that she eats what she doesn’t like last, since she wants to enjoy the good things.


    I have started doing the “fun stuff” because it energizes me.  It makes me more relaxed and creative for the rest of the day.  I don’t resent anyone because I’m doing something boring.  I’m happy right where I am.  It’s hard to reprogram myself to do this because sometimes I get caught up in that trap where I accidentally look at my phone because I get an urgent text and then it is downhill from there.  I check on this that and the other thing and before you know it, I haven’t been productive and it has taken me double or triple the time to get my to-do list done.  It’s like I’m in mud and trying to walk with labored steps.


    So tomorrow when you wake up, have your dessert first.  (ok maybe not really but sure if you find a really good french pastry well then who can blame you.  Do the fun work and literally have your dessert before anything else).    By doing this I’m in a better mood and I actually have more confidence because I feel like I can accomplish anything once I get these fun, creative things going.  Also that weird phone call that I have to make (and hate by the way) isn’t so bad anymore because I’m in such a good mood from my creative endeavors.

  • life

    You Can’t Do That

    In preschool  (how I remember something from when I was 4 I’ll never know but I remember it very clearly when I’m faced with a challenger), we were given a picture with a lady dressed in an elegant dress to color.  I colored her dress purple, of course, my favorite color.  Then I did something that no other kid did.  I colored her arms purple, but just up to the elbows.  My lady in my picture was wearing long gloves in my story, in my head.

    Just then I was interrupted from my daydream of this elegant being by a fellow classmate.


    He said “you can’t do that.  You can’t color her arms purple”


    I said “But they are gloves.”  I stopped for a minute.   The teacher came over and again reiterated to the boy that I could color my picture however I wanted to.


    It starts as early as preschool/kindergarten.  We are told that we can’t change  and color outside of the lines of the prescribed lesson plan, the coloring book pictures, the job description, the life our family has decided for us.


    A lot of times we waste time thinking we actually can’t do something.  In high school, I wanted to be part of student council for some reason.  I can’t even remember why now but I loved to be involved and be part of everything.  So when my classmates basically told me “You can’t do that” because they didn’t vote me in, I decided to use my talents and go the route that allowed me to get where I wanted to go.  There was this special position called “Student School Board Representative”  I had to attend school board meetings every month and report back to the student council on what was going on as well as give updates to the school board on the goings on of the high schoolers.  For this position, I needed to interview and be selected by upperclassmen and faculty.  I got in!! It was more work, than the run of the mill student council member, but I wanted this position so badly, I didn’t care.  When I had the position, the school board decided that they were going to start charging the students to park at school.  Basically, I had to report back to the students that they would be charged like $50 per year just to drive to school.  Most people would just accept their fate, but I wasn’t ready to back down just yet.  That $50 doesn’t sound like a TON of money but for a high school student in a public school in the 90’s who may be paying for gas, insurance and whatever else for the car to drive it to school so that they can play sports or go to a job after school, $50 is a lot.  They were telling us that we could no longer drive to school and park for free.  Basically, “You can’t do the things you were doing last week”  So I thought “Hmm how can I maintain our free parking”   I decided to put together a survey of why each student drove to school and present my findings and my case to the school board.  I even  had my mom print out the pie charts in color at work.  (Hey this was the 90’s, color printouts were a very big thing.)  But it worked.  They decided to stop the pay for parking initiative and to go back to the way it was.  I was determined to make sure that I took my position seriously and even though we were 16 or 17 years olds, we weren’t going to be told that we couldn’t park at our school for free when there was plenty of space and plenty of reasons that students couldn’t pay the fee.  When someone tells you “You can’t do that.”  Think twice, heck think three times about why they are saying this and how you can prove that yes “I can do this.”


    Go out and color your picture of your life however you want to.


    You can’t do that


    Oh but I can …. and I will

  • Uncategorized

    Say what you mean and mean what you say

    Often times as women we are taught to “play nice”.  As a child, I said what was on my mind.  I once told a Catholic priest that I thought that a catholic nun may have not gone Heaven because she used to spank (ie beat to a pulp) kids (wellll?!?!?! where do you think she went.  I think her gates were a little warm to the touch rather than pearly).  He looked at me with disdain and I can’t remember but there were probably a series of Hail Mary’s and Glory Be’s to make up for what I said.


    However, as I grew older, maybe it wasn’t exactly proper to “tell the truth”.  If you just got along and followed some arbitrary rules you would be promoted, get chosen for special favors, or at the very least just keep your job.  I had this sick feeling in my stomach if I had to follow a rule that I wasn’t comfortable with.  Hopefully, my conscience would win out and I would do what I felt was the right thing to do.  Could I tell the truth and defend someone who may be defenseless against someone who was perceived as being more powerful?  Maybe even harder than that is the ability to tell that person that you truly care about that they have to move out, leave the job, or end the friendship because, in the end, it will be best for both of you.


    As women we are taught or bred to be nurturers (I’m not sure which?) It’s ok to be honest and if someone is upset or holds a grudge then so be it.  As long as we are coming from a place of trying to change the situation for the better then  . . . . they will just have to get over it.  So recognize that there is something that is hard to say and just say it already!?!?!?!?!

  • Uncategorized

    Is 95% the new 100%

    In college, I had a class in which once per week we had a group project to work on.  We did the research, wrote the report, and worked on our oral,  in class, presentation.  We worked and worked and worked.  One day as we were walking back toward our respective dorms, we were discussing the final touches on our project. As we walked down the street and this guy Adam- a close talker- for some reason I remember he was a close talker and would keep moving in to fill the space between us.  I hate when my space is invaded.  So I was focusing on his walking closer and closer and me practically banging into sidewalk signs.  I wasn’t paying any attention to what he said.  I was just thinking, “Am i almost home?”


    Then suddenly he said “you know we have worked really hard.  So hard that I think that right now, we would get a 95% on our project”  In order to get a higher percentage, I think that we would need to work an additional 5 hours to get a 97% and if we wanted to get a 98% we would need to work another 15 hours.  The last little bit would require so much work that I don’t feel it is worth it when we have a solid project.  WE could be spending our time on other valuable things.


    Ok space invader.  What say you?  I think you are onto something. So we don’t need to eek out every last ounce of work and effort for some project or job.  If we do that, we lose all of our energy and then have none to start another project or to be in a good mood even to enjoy the process of ending the current one.  I sometimes hold on tight to eek out that last good bit of work and keep perfecting and perfecting and then maybe that project just fizzles because it wasn’t quite right, but if I would’ve launched it at 95% it would have been magnificent and helped people and been exactly what was needed and now no one gets to enjoy it.  Or maybe I keep trying to eek out perfection and then I do that and by the time that it’s done I”m exhausted and having a miserable time.


    Just remember, get to 95% does not mean that you didn’t give 100% to the project.  It just means that you know when the project needs to be published, executed whatever it is.  Because often times continuing to press forward, causes the thing to not even reach 1%.  It gets thrown in the trash or tabled because it is too darn exhausting to continue.  It feels so good to just let it out into the world. Go and figure out what you need to complete to 95% and just do it!

  • Z/Fi/Me

    Don’t go chasing water balloons

    Over the summer,  my youngest daughter Fiona (age 3 ) was throwing water balloons into their pool on the deck ( the $14.99  blow up version from the toy store)  She kept retrieving them by bending over the side and getting an arm wet or  sometimes not depending on her technique (she was in her clothes and didn’t have her swimsuit on so she couldn’t get into the pool).  She then would throw them back in. Some would float under the lip of the blow up pool and would be hidden for awhile, but either I would help her or she would find it. Once they were all out, she threw them back in until we had to go inside for the day.  At first, I was getting a little annoyed thinking

    “Why in the world do you want to put them back in if you already accomplished the task of getting them all out. You’re done.  Move on”

    However, I’ve been observing my kids lately to get their take on the world.  They are like aliens, really, discovering things for the first time. They were a being outside of their body that chose this new adventure,but now they are feeling out this new body, the environment, and other people.


    What she was doing wasn’t annoying.  It was discovery.  She wasn’t getting frustrated at all. She was enjoying picking out the color balloon that she wanted to and figuring out how to do that.


    Did she have to lean in?


    Did she need to ask for help?


    Did she save the easy reaches for last or get those first?


    It was all a fun adventure to her. But to us,we like to check stuff off of our lists,accomplish and move on. Sometimes the real fun is trying it a different way. She wasn’t saying “All of the other kids in the world can get the balloons out faster.”  or “Why am I wasting my time throwing these balloons in there and fishing them out. It’s so much fun, but I have laundry to do.”


    We are all starting to try and do things that we have wanted to do and so what if we don’t get it right the first time or even the 100th time.  What if you send out 100 resumes only to get an interview on the 101th try.  Just because we are a particular age doesn’t mean anything.  What I did realize is that she learned from her mistakes.  She didn’t get upset but laughed that half of her sleeve was wet. But after that,her clothes stayed dry.  She was having fun and she wanted to try things every which way she could try it.


    She even surprised me the other night after dessert.  We had a really rich cake that our 5 year old picked out.  Fiona, ate some and got a stomach ache.  She said “oh well it’ll feel better and I don’t want to eat that again” The next day when the rest of us ate leftovers, she didn’t want any. She learned her lesson and asked for Banillva ice cream instead (vanilla but banillva sounds sort of Scandinavian so I’m going to keep that one).  Again, her night wasn’t ruined by the stomach ache.  We let things ruin our days, weeks, and years because we think that we made a mistake and it can never be undone.  Instead, how about thinking that we learned something that didn’t work for us.  My husband can eat near spoiled meat and his steel stomach feels nothing, but I eat one wrong thing and I feel it for a day.  So two people can do the same thing with different outcomes, so to him what he ate wasn’t a mistake.


    Having that confidence to shrug off the mistakes, the missteps, or the learning can help you to get where you want to go and propel you towards your dreams.  Getting stuck in the muck and ruminating will get you headaches and sleepless nights (believe me I speak from experience).  I used to ruminate about everything I messed up.  As a young girl, I was taught to behave, get good grades, and don’t make a fuss.  So if I didn’t follow this, I felt like I had messed up and I should have known better.  Well, we have to live and try things.  If no one tried something new or pushed themselves, it would be a very boring world.  Know that if you want to succeed, there will be things that won’t go according to what your structured brain planned and ride the wave of adventure.  Because sometimes, you find a new way to do something or a new way to have fun.

  • Uncategorized




    Growing up I was good in math/science.  So the natural progression of being a child a of a liberal mom who started her career in the 70’s was to go into engineering.

    “Have your own career. Don’t  rely on a man for money.”

    “ You can do anything the boys can do.”

    I liked matchbox cars but I also loved cute dresses and purses.  Most of the people in my classes were guys.  there were a handful of girls in my college course.  I got a job in manufacturing with the macho men.  I was literally a little girl of 25 years with a bunch of guys.   I didn’t know how to possess femininity yet be assertive.  Women in my life were either nurturing or assertive and unapproachable.  They weren’t elegant but in charge.

    At this job, I had to wear steel toed shoes.  So I climbed onto the shoe mobile where I was to find a pair of Steel Toed Shoes to wear EVERYDAY  for my job in manufacturing no matter how uncomfortable or clunky.

    “Do you have any cute steel toed shoes?” I asked the man working.

    “It depends on your definition of cute” answered the middle aged overweight man with a plumbers crack to rival the San Andreas Fault.  I took this as a “NO”

    There were exactly 3 women’s shoe choices in a sea of men’s shoes.  This made sense because there were probably 10 women working among 500 plus men.  I get it and am a proponent of it’s what you do, how you perform and not “how you look”. But for me, for my comfort, for my confidence, for my sense of style, I would have liked a choice!  Maybe a steel toed pump!

    I had always want to prove that I could do whatever the boys did.  I was good at math and science so naturally I went into engineering.  Our mother’s burned their bras, had a career, and tried to break the glass ceiling so that we may have choices, opportunities, and the ability to change the man’s world.  So I had to succeed and be like one of the boys.  How could I enter this world with my feminine side intact but still be the assertive woman that I needed to be.  To have the confidence to go for whatever I wanted.   I wanted to create a place to discuss such issues and to help women to have the confidence to know that their goals and dreams are achievable and a place that women feel like they are part of the ‘ole girls club.  From this idea came the term Steel Toe Pumps.