Monday, June 30, 2008

Chicken Salad and the Pressure Cooker

Ok, this isn't about chicken salad cooked in a pressure cooker but a post about one of my favorite things (my pressure cooker) and a recipe for a yummy chicken salad.

Pressure cookers - I don't think they are something that are used in the mainstream kitchen in the United States. However, I grew up with my parents using one since in my Dad's native country they are pretty common place. Or at least those that came to the US use them a lot. So to me they aren't that strange a piece of kitchen equipment.

I don't use mine has often as I should, and when I do I think "now why don't I use this thing more often??". It's a super quick way to cook, it's healthy (you are cooking with pressure and steam - no oil) and it's economical since the cooking is quite fast and takes place on the stovetop. Also, the pots are very sturdy (mine has been in my kitchen since 1990) you just need to keep an eye on the rubber gasket which will wear out over time and need to be replaced.
For this chicken salad I throw the raw chicken into the PC, cook for 8 minutes, let it cool and that's it! You have moist, yummy chicken breast ready to go.
You can also make an entire meal in the PC in the same amount of cooking time (chicken in 8 minutes or less). Some other recipes included in my PC cookbook are Chicken Cacciatore, Cornish Hen (yes an entire Cornish Hen in in 8 minutes), Beef Stew, Spaghetti Meat Sauce, Pot Roast and Spare Ribs to name a few. You do need to add liquid to create the steam needed to cook the food; I like to use a cup of chicken broth for a little more flavor in the chicken breast for this salad.
This recipe is my interpretation of a chicken salad that a lady I work with makes. Her version is decadent and sinful, so I try and lighten it up just a bit. Hubby loves it, which should tell you something! Note - the amounts are all estimates since chicken salad is not a demanding/exacting type dish. So just use amounts that look good to you!
Noelle's Lighter Chicken Salad
1 large chicken breast (2 halves - appx 1 lb) cooked, shredded/cubed
3-4 ribs celery - chopped (preferably organic - celery is one of the veggies that absorbs pesticides and chemicals in the soil, but that's another post) or use some cucumber (seeds removed) if you don't like celery
3/4 c red grapes, halved
1/2 c light mayo
1/4 c non-fat plain yogurt
1/8 c bottled ranch dressing
A shake or two of white pepper
Mix the mayo, yogurt and ranch dressing until blended. Add white pepper to taste. Fold in chicken, grapes and celery. Allow to chill thoroughly and serve on crackers, a bed of greens or as a sandwich.

Also, I have used fat-free yogurt in salad dressings in other recipes - it's a great way to thin a heavy mayo dressing, add some tang and cut some fat. You can check out my recipe for Happy Apple Salad on Recipezaar - I did the same yogurt trick there too.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

She's Got Betty Davis Eye(brows)

Guess what my girl got into this weekend when she was supposed to be taking a nap?

This picture doesn't quite do her handiwork justice... when I walked into the kitchen (and caught her with a fork and a bag of marshmallows in hand) I apparently surprised her so she spun around and this is what I saw:

That smudgey stuff below her eyebrows? That's my black eyeliner.

I took one look and I couldn't help but burst out laughing. And laughing. And laughing.

Her look of surprise turned to confusion, then a little smile and then she started laughing too. I don't think she knew why she was laughing except that I was laughing - almost hysterically. It was a wonderful mommy-daughter moment and I'll treasure the memory of us standing in the kitchen laughing together - she not knowing why and me thinking what a sweet girl I have!

Thank God I don't have any lipstick!

Life of Kiki

This is Kiki, our Greyhound. She retired from racing at the ripe old age of 2-years old. She was in a very, very bad accident during a race and crashed into the rail with another hound. The other dog had to be put down but Kiki, although she broke her leg in three places (and now has screws and plates in her leg), was able to be saved and turned over to Midwest Greyhound Adoption. MGA picked her up in Wisconsin, took care of her broken leg surgery, rehabilated her for about 6 weeks in their kennel and then placed her with my family. They tend to "specialize" in helping Greyhounds with broken legs which is very honorable, but very expensive too.

Kiki is very sweet (which is the general disposition of the Greyhound breed) and is a beautiful brown and red brindle. Contrary to what you may think Greyhounds are not the high energy, gotta run-gotta run-gotta run dogs that are, say, Labradors. Greyhounds run very fast but their races are pretty short - something like 30 seconds. So, she is able to burn off her energy rather quickly with a 60 second tear around the back yard. Then she comes up to the deck, panting and tongue hanging out and plops down to rest.

In fact if you want a Greyhound to be able to go on long walks with you, or run with you it will take some training and time to build them up to that point. They do love to get outside, but they aren't going to last more than a few blocks (at least my Greyhounds never did!) Generally once they are retired from racing, they like to sleep, eat, poop and sleep. Mostly sleep.

Kiki loves people and loves attention (here she has her 60 lb self laying ON my husband). Sadly with two little ones in the house now she is third in line attention-wise. So, sometimes she just plops in the middle of the room and looks cute, waiting for someone to notice.
Here she is laying on a snow boot. She'll do anything to be close to something my Hubby has worn (if you couldn't tell from the earlier picture he's her favorite)

I had to laugh when I took this picture because she had her head squarely on her fleece toy, just like a pillow. Greyhounds definitely like to be comfortable - she can often be found on the couch (a no-no) or sometimes on our bed (a BIG no-no). They just can't resist a soft, warm spot to get cozy in! I think it must have something to do with them being so darn boney - it must be hard to get comfortable sometimes, even though she has several dog beds throughout the house.

Kiki has a good pal down the street - not another dog, but a neighbor, Michele. Michele will come over and take Kiki out with her for a few hours, run down to the beach (Lake Michigan) or to the dog park or just on errands. Kiki always comes home pooped out and usually with a bag of treats from a doggie bakery. She is very lucky to have such a nice human friend on the block!

Sometimes when Kiki is outside she will sit on the deck and face the direction of Michele's back yard (she lives two houses away) in hopes of catching a glimpse of her. If she does see her she gets very excited and wags her tail furiously - it's rather sweet!

For more pictures of other beautiful, sweet, loving and gentle Greyhounds check out

Creepy Crawlies

Ewww, ick, gross...... SHUDDER

I don't know what the heck these weird red bugs are but they are ALL OVER my false sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides) plants. They aren't on the neighboring plants, just the false sunflower.

Just thinking about they is giving me the creeps and making me itchy. They are actually a lovely, vibrant shade of red, but seeing them teeming all over the plants just really creeps me out.

Are they aphids? They don't look like they are doing anything to the plants (yet). I wonder if the Chicago Botanical Gardens have a help desk that I can email these photos to. Actually the Gardens are only a few miles away - I guess I could just take a stalk over and see if someone can identify these guys.

Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwww - I'm itching too much just thinking about them!!! I can't write anymore!!!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Todd Wins a Tony Award

Todd Won! Todd Won!!

Hubby's good friend Todd Rosenthal took home the Tony Award for Best Scenic Design of a Play yesterday. Since his category is technical in nature it's one of the awards that was presented earlier that day then the taped footage played during the live evening broadcast on ABC. They showed a quicky 2-second clip of Todd walking to the stage (please excuse my lame photos of our TV screen)

and then a little clip of him getting one sentence out of his speech before they jumped ahead to the next category. UPDATE: you can read his acceptance speech now.

Still, as short as it was it was thrilling and Hubby was yelling and jumping out of pure joy for his friend. Then, about an hour later reality set in.

Hubby used to do the same thing as Todd does now - he was a scenic designer. In fact he was a mentor to Todd when Todd first moved to Chicago years ago. After Hubby graduated from college he co-founded a theater and was self-employed for about 20 years. He won a few Jeff Awards - the regional theater equivalent of a Tony award, he was featured in a Chicago Tribune special on up and coming artists in Chicago and he had a bright, exciting future.

While he loved working in the theater it is a HARD way to make a living - the hours are very long and the pay is nothing to cheer about. I think like anyone in the arts many people that work in theater do it because they love what they do, not because they are making tons of money. After years of working with his own small theater he eventually decided to leave and work independently as a lighting and scenic designer.

Then a few things happened - I guess you could just say that life happened - he went through the emotional and financial upheaval of a divorce, then the tragedy of September 11 and business really slowed down. Things quickly went from being really good to really rough.

In 2002 we decided to get married and agreed that we wanted to have a life together; working in theater makes having a romantic relationship really, really difficult, especially if your partner has a job with conventional hours. Working in theater requires long days, evenings, and weekends. After much discussion Hubby decided to close up shop and go to work for a small millwork studio as their staff designer. He was in his forties and it was time for a change plus we were considering having a family which would require that he was able to be home at predictable, consistent times. In order to do this he knew he would have to give up working on theater design for good. Instead he changed direction a bit by moving into designing exhibits, trade-shows, restaurants as well as acting as sort of a consultant to his employer by drawing on his 20+ years experience in the entertainment industry.

It's an understatement to say that he was worried about the change - he had never had to answer to anyone else but himself. I was worried too - was this the right decision? Was I pressuring him to do this?

It's been almost six years since the big change and he couldn't be happier - he is respected for his dedication, knowledge and teamwork at his place of employment. For once he can count on a predictable and regular paycheck, he has benefits and he doesn't have to wear all the hats he had to wear as a self-employed designer. He has had the chance to work on some really cool exhibits for a Chicago museum that enjoys a worldwide reputation. Best of all, and most importantly, he still loves what he does.

So, while sometimes he may be a little wistful at what might have been and while he may not ever win a Tony award he does have two beautiful, priceless awards that no one else in the world will ever have - he has an Indy and he has an Ander. They may not fit very well on a bookshelf but they do fit perfectly in his heart.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Fodder's Day

My baby and my Hubby - what a handsome pair!

I have to admit that it always makes me smile when my daughter says mother and father as "mudder" and "fodder" - I love hearing that childish pronounciation of those two words.

For Fodder's Day we let Daddy sleep in and made him breakfast in bed. We also bought him a new hammock for the back yard - I kept telling her it was a surprise but of course Friday afternoon she blurted it out to her Dad the first chance she had "Dad! We got you a hammock!". Luckily, Hubby couldn't hear well (she was on my cell phone) so I think we would have gotten away with it except this morning she blurted it out again when we were taking him his breakfast. She doesn't really know what a hammock is, but I'm sure once she sees it set up we will not be able to get her out of it. Lucky for Hubby it's a hammock made for two :-)
I'm very grateful to have such a wonderful, caring husband who is such a great dad too. If you can't tell by the grey hair (which, by the way, started coming in when he was 19) he did wait a few years to have children. He admits he may be lower energy than other dads but what he may lack in energy he more than makes up for in patience and love for our children.
There are many things I admire about my Hubby but here are a few things I most admire about him as a Fodder:
  • He is way more patient than me. Period.
  • He rarely raises his voice with the kids, even when he is getting really frustrated.
  • He has developed a treasured bed-time routine for our daughter - so much so that she requests that he put her to bed and not me (I try not to let this hurt my feelings ...sniff, sniff...)
  • He really can identify with young children and adjusts his expectations down to their emotional abilities (I need to work on that).

"I love you Daddy! Can't wait to re-create some of the chaos you brought on Grandma when you were a little boy!!"

"I'm getting ready to head out with my Daddy. We like to go to Home Depot, Starbucks, Barnes & Noble and the motorcycle shop. I'm a Daddy's girl and proud of it!"

P.S. For more on the little yellow dress I'm wearing (yup, Mommy knit that) click Here

Friday, June 13, 2008

Five Minute Berry Ice Cream

It's Father's Day this weekend so I have been trying to brainstorm some fun, family activities that we can do together. I stumbled on two ice cream recipes that we can make at home without an ice cream maker. I love the idea of not having to purchase yet another kitchen gadget but still have homemade ice cream so I was all over this!

This evening we tried "Five Minute Ice Cream". It was very easy to make and tasted pretty good! Unfortunately, I don't think we used enough frozen fruit so the end product was a little on the soft side (as you can tell from the picture). If we had more willpower we would have left the ice cream in the freezer a little longer to firm up. Next time I'll make sure to use a full 10 oz bag of frozen fruit which should solve that problem!

The recipe is very simple - just a bag of frozen fruit (we used frozen strawberries and raspberries), a little sugar and some half and half or heavy cream. Pop it in your food processor or blender and voila! Click here for the recipe

On Sunday we are going to try "Speedy Ice Cream" which sounds really interesting - I'm intrigued by the use of baggies and salt and tossing the bags around in order to freeze the cream. I know my girl will absolutely love the hands on (literally) aspect of making that ice cream!

I also noticed our grocery store stocks Morton's Ice Cream Salt so I bought some to see if it makes a difference. The recipe just calls for regular salt but I know when you use an old-fashioned ice cream maker you do need to use rock salt - I think it effects the coldness level or something like that. I'll post a picture of our results on Sunday.

Speaking of berries, I am excited (waayyyyy too excited) to tell you that our blueberries weren't all nibbled off by critters - whoo hoo!! Our little blueberry bush is cranking along and has oh, about a dozen berries on it. Not much, but compared to last year's harvest of three berries, it is a bumper crop.

The strawberry plants are doing quite well, as you can see. I tried a little trick to keep the rabbits away (I can't get myself to put up the ugly chicken wire around the plants yet) so I put a shiny, metallic pinwheel in the ground right next to the plants. My daughter didn't seem to mind giving it up when I told her that I hoped its movement would make the rabbits too nervous to come and nibble on our berries. So far so good!

She picked the first of the harvest all by herself - two the first day, four yesterday and two more today.

She also ate them all by herself. While she wouldn't share with me she did generously give her dad one whole strawberry.

He said they were still a little on the tart side, but she loved them which of course is all that matters.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Beef about Beef

This is the June 12th entry from my "Living Green" page-a-day calendar (email version so I'm not wasting paper :-)

"A steak might be an American institution, but it comes with a side of environmental costs. Central and South American forests are being cut or burned down to provide pasture. Effluent from feedlots pollutes land and waters, and each cow produces 300 liters of methane—a greenhouse gas—every day. Consider reducing the amount of meat you eat; while the cows aren’t problematic in and of themselves, modern mass-farming methods take a toll. "

We tend not to eat a lot of meat in our home anyways, but in addition to the health benefits this is yet another reason to cut back on red meat.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Dining Out In Chicago

Grant Achatz (A-kitz) of Alinea (uh-lin-ee-uh)

I'm by no stretch of the imagination a "foodie" - someone that adores fine dining, wine and the snobbery that seems to go with it. However, I do like to read about what is going on in Chicago's exciting world of food and restaurants and when possible give a new restaurant a try. Several years ago I even managed to check off one of my "Things To Do Before I Die" items and I ate at the chef's table at Charlie Trotter's. A wonderful experience, but sadly Chef Trotter left for the second seating that evening so we didn't get to see him at work - I couldn't believe my bad luck :-(

There are other great restaurants that I have tried like Frontera Grill (Rick Bayless) and Naha (Carrie Nahabedian) and enjoyed very much. Lucky for me those two are close enough to my office that I was able to go to each of them for lunch during the work week. Somehow having two little ones at home makes it hard to get into the city for dinner out. Go figure.

Two more that are on my to-try list are Alinea and Graham Elliott. These restaurants are both owned by young chefs that have paid their dues and worked their way up in other acclaimed restaurants. Alinea (owned by Grant Achatz) has been open for a few years and has received critical acclaim. Graham Elliott just opened and the menu sounds intriguing. You can check it out at

Another reason I want to try Alinea has nothing to do with the food. Chef Achatz has been fighting an awful, life-threatening illness - oral cancer. Of all illness to strike a chef - oral cancer. The irony of it felt like a smack right in the head and I was stunned. I couldn't help thinking "but he's so young, so talented - he has so much going for him" (not to mention two young sons) all the things that run through your head when you hear this kind of news about someone so young.

The good news is that almost one year after he was diagnosed he is now in remission - you can read about his recent James Beard Award win at the link below as well as read a recap about the illness and his choice of treatment which ended up keeping his tongue intact and may allow him to regain his taste. His bravery in opting for a unconventional treatment of the cancer as well as his determination to continue working and creating wonderful dishes at Alinea is remarkable, to say the least, and makes Alinea one of my "must try" restaurants.

Southern Charm Giveaway

Check out this giveaway at

I love stumbling on to unique things - especially items that are handmade and made in the USA. These pretty little charms are both and adorable to boot! I especially love the "A Kiss, and All Was Said" charm. The inscription comes from this quote by Victor Hugo "How did it happen that their lips came together? How does it happen that birds sing, that snow melts, that the rose unfolds, that the dawn whitens behind the stark shapes of trees on the quivering summit of the hill? A kiss, and all was said." Oh my gosh, doesn't that just make you weak in the knees??

Wouldn't this charm be a great idea to give as a shower gift to a bride-to-be and add their wedding date on the back? Maybe the bride could wear it stitched to her garter (or hidden somewhere inside her wedding dress) and then later wear the charm on a necklace and eventually pass it down to her daughter. It could become a family heirloom!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Deadly Chocolate Fumes

A story that caught my eye today in the Tribune:

"Chicago worker dies after deadly fumes released at Blommer Chocolate factory",0,4477418.story

What a bizarre event and I'm sorry to see that a man died, but the fact that it happened at a chocolate factory makes it even more odd and is probably why the Trib picked up the story.

The Blommer Chocolate factory was also in the news a few years ago because someone complained about the "odors" their factory emitted. Yes, believe it or not a resident who was new to the area actually filed a complaint about the chocolate smell that wafted from the Blommer factory and perfumed the air of the surrounding neighborhood.

I, myself have smelled the odors/aromas (depending on who you are talking to) that the resident complained about and believe me - they are absolutely heavenly! The smell wasn't there every day, so it was always an extra special treat when I left my office and was greeted with a whiff of chocolate in the air. It was a creamy, dark chocolately, brownie-like aroma and it always made me take a deep breath, sigh and smile. I guess if I lived in the surrounding neighborhood maybe it would get annoying but oooooooooh, I was really angry that the complaint filer was ruining it for everyone by blowing the whistle on Blommer's - what a jerk!

Later I learned that apparently from an EPA standpoint a factory is supposed to contain their emissions, however delicious smelling they may be. I believe that Blommer's was obligated to eventually do something to keep their chocolate smells to themselves which certainly is too bad for me and the other commuters who enjoyed that little whiff of heaven on their walk to work.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Matthew Waynee

It's interesting to see, now that I'm a "grown-up", what the people that I grew up with are doing now. Some I have known since I was a kid have surprised me with what they decided to do career-wise and others that did not. Many have chosen to do some really neat things with their careers and an elite few were brave risk-takers that ended up breaking into their industry of choice and achieved worldwide notoriety and huge financial success.

One of those people is Billy Corgan (we went to middle school and high school together) of Smashing Pumpkins fame. He always was a little different, but a really nice guy and one that seemed to be very smart. I remember sitting next to him in an honors history class and being intimidated by his knowledge and ability to discuss a given topic - it made me feel so inadequate that it was one of the reasons that I dropped that honors class and switched to a regular class. I couldn't take the pressure.

Another is my cousin, Matthew Waynee. OK, he may not have the worldwide notoriety (yet) but we are still pretty darn proud of him and all he has achieved so far. He is just a normal guy from the midwest who was passionate about becoming a writer. He picked up and moved from Michigan to LA for graduate school and stayed in order to pursue his writing career. Recently he found some commercial success when he was able sell a screen play he wrote. Check out his website or his IMDb profile here

Me, I'm just not a risk-taker. Even at a young age I worried about stuff like "how will I pay my mortgage?", or "um, I need to save for retirement/kid's college", etc. So I took the safe route in school, obtained a degree in finance and have been steadily working for the last 18 years (knock wood!). While I have a comfortable life I can't help but envy those that really put their heart and soul into something they loved and ran with it. They didn't know if they would ever find commercial success, but they did it because they loved their craft.

Anyway, back to the point of this post - Matthew Waynee! The screen play Matt sold was for the movie "Unknown" which was produced and released a few years ago - click here for a movie review . Hubby and I really enjoyed the movie and thought it was even more cool that Matt wrote it. But even if he didn't it was still a good story with lots of twists - you can find it on

Hopefully we will see more of him on the big screen or the NY Times best seller list. We'll all be even more proud of him, but deep down he'll always be cousin Matt to me - a genuine and down-to-earth guy whom I'm proud to have in my family.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

My Girl

You know all of those free return address labels you get in the mail from charities trying to convince you to make a donation? I have enough that I will never use them all up, so I let my daughter play with them since to her they are just stickers. It's a freebie and another way to "reduce, reuse, recycle" instead of just throwing them out.

First she came up with the idea to make a moustache (after sticking several on that poor lady over on the right)

Then she decided to make a whole beard so she could look like her dad. We really get a kick out of her creativity - hopefully that means we are doing something right!

Here are three more pictures from that same evening, pre-facial hair. I love our new camera and couldn't stop taking pictures!

....talking...and talking...and talking...

Unabashedly cute!

OK, now she's just trying to be cute, but you know what? It works.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Gardening and Hoping

I realized a few weeks ago that this summer is the first summer since we bought our house (in 2004) that I am not pregnant nor do I have an infant to care for. I'm amazed at how much I can do when I'm 1) gardening for ONE not TWO and 2) my kids can both walk on their own and even enjoy occupying themselves in the yard while I'm pulling weeds.

Here is a picture of our front yard - I never cared for lawn statuary, but when my mother-in-law gave me the little girl statue after my daughter was born I just loved it and it has been in the front garden ever since. The garden was professionally landscaped when we moved in but the landscapers (I think) oversold the prior owners on plants. There were three hydrangeas, cat mint, russian sage, a ton of vinca, day lilies, sedum and a Canadian hemlock. That's a lot of stuff for as small a space as this garden has, so over the last few years we have tried to divide and move what we have so that it doesn't look quite so crowded and overgrown by mid-summer. We also tried to add some color variety by putting in some flowering perennials as well as bulbs such as lilies, irises, daffodils and crocus.

In case you were wondering we are planning to trim those monster yews in the back there. They have really started to encroach on the rest of the garden, plus I don't care for the way they were pruned to be rectangular. Once the new growth stops in a few weeks we are going to cut them back about 1 1/2' and down about the same amount and see what happens. I'd like to let them grow back in a more natural shape too.

Last year I planted three different clematis plants in our back yard in an effort to camoflage the faded, old wood fence. I've never grown clematis before so I'm thrilled to see that all three plants come back with a vengence this year. Each plant is a different variety and I can't wait to see what color flowers the other two plants will have. I've been faithfully training them to climb up the fence and it seems to be working. Hopefully within a season or two the three plants will cover a large part of fencing - what to do when the fence needs to be re-stained or the pickets replaced, well, I don't know. Guess I'll worry about that later :-)

Fruits and veggies - we decided to just plant tomatoes this year. We have a five in the ground and put two in this contraption:

It's called a "topsy-turvey" and it actually holds the tomato plant upside down! In this shot you can see that the tiny tomato plant is starting to curve upward towards the sun.

It's amazing - the plant starts to do that within a few days of being planted. The upside of this method is 1) you don't have to stake the tomatoes and 2) you don't have to worry about rabbits or other critters eating your tomatoes. Last year we had one little guy that would pick a tomato, take a bite or two out of it and then kindly leave it for us to find on the deck the next morning. I think he was taunting us.

We also put in three raspberry bushes in April. This is what they looked like a few weeks ago:

It looks like a dead stick in the ground, doesn't it? But we kept the faith and most recently this is what it looked like:

I have heard we may actually get fruit the first season, so I'm excited about that. My daughter loves picking fresh raspberries from our neighbor's plants, so it will be nice to possibly have our own this year.

We have two "tophat" blueberry bushes in the front yard but they are looking pretty sad. Last year one of the plants gave us a whopping three berries. Yes, three berries. So my husband, my daughter and I each got one but we kept a sense of humor about it and hoped this year would be better.

But, I don't think so. As you can see just about all the flowers have been nibbled off the plant which means we won't be getting ANY berries this season... I think I may have to move these guys to another spot for next season.

The strawberry plants! I planted three of them last summer and was able to get a handful of berries since the rabbits took their share too. This year the plants have really settled in and are LOVING their spot in the front garden. The plants are huge and sending out shoots, so I'm a little worried they are going to spread all over the place, but I'm wait and see before moving them. With a little luck we may be eating some fresh fruit salad this summer...

Monday, June 2, 2008

Ice Cream Lost

My little guy had his first ice cream cone this weekend.

I was really impressed with how well he did - he held it upright, didn't spill anything and seemed to know that he needed to start at the top and eat downwards. By the way, do you notice the brindle greyhound lurking in the background?

Look at the concentration - he is doing such a great job! Hmmmmmm, that greyhound sure is hovering...

Wow - look at him go!

Ohhh, now he's down to the very last part of the cone - this was always my favorite part, where the ice cream is all melty and settled into the "basket" part of the cone. You just pop it into your mouth in one bite - yum!

Sadly, my little guy never did get to complete this last step. Kiki (the greyhound) snatched it out of his sticky little hands; while I didn't see it actually happen I did hear him squeal and turned in time to see her running with her head down and ice cream cone in her mouth. He toddled after her, chasing her and crying. He even swiped at her - he was so mad. It was heartbreaking - so much so I was too distracted to get a picture. Just as well, it was very sad.

Here is my girl with HER ice cream. Notice the greyhound skulking around again. Cue the theme music from "Jaws" - that's what it's like when you have food around Kiki. She just keeps circling and circling, looking for her chance to grab it. She can be very bold and she is super quiet and very stealthy when she does it.

My girl, at the ripe old age of 3, is on to Kiki's little tricks so she decided to go into her little playhouse to enjoy the rest of her cone. I took this picture peeking through the little notch between the shutters.

She calls the house her "restaurant" but she pronounces it "restaurahnk". I have no idea why she calls it that but it's very adorable. Anyways, she loves to hang out in the restaurahnk and wait for customers - notice the little lawn chair she pulled in there so she can sit while she waits.

This weekend she begged me to come to her restauranhnk and knock on her shutters - she likes to keep them closed until she gets a customer, you know. So I dutifully went and knocked on the shutters and she ignored me. So I knocked again and she responded with "I'm closed!" Can you believe it?? She begs me to come play restaurahnk with her and then she tells me she's closed! I say "but I'm so hungry, can't you please make me something to eat?". She's a tough cookie and replies "no, you'll have to find another restaurant, I'm closed". I call her bluff and walk away. She bites and calls out "I'm open now!!" so it all begins again.

By the way, we got the playhouse from Freecycle :-)