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Happy Halloween Day!

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    Monday's With Michelle: Must-Have Spices for the Kitchen

    Happy Halloween! I hope you didn’t gorge yourselves too much with your Halloween treats this weekend. If so, back away slowly from the candy and let’s get to some foodie fun…

    A few weeks ago I shared a few insider tips on my Foodie Blog for two of my favorite homemade seasoning mixtures. Sure you can buy the pre-mixed spices, but if you read the ingredient list on the back you will see that you already have most of the items in your pantry. When you create your own mixture you have more control over the flavors, and it’s more cost effective. You can make multiple batches and finally clean out your spice rack.


    How To Make "Fun" Money on eBay

    Since last month's post on all thing's eBay I've come up with a goal:

    To generate a "Fun" Money income stream of $500 via eBay sales.


    Babble's Top 50 Dad Blogs of 2011

    It has happened again and I'm beginning to feel a little weird reporting the watershed of good news that has been coming my since July and then began piling on during my birthday week back in September. I don't want to ever come off as if I am gloating or bragging. I suppose the greater damage would come from not reporting/sharing the good news and having you all take that action the wrong way. The damage control required just isn't worth it.

    So here goes...after spending the day serving as a chaperone on a field trip to a pumpkin patch with my daughter's Kindergarten class I was blessed with the news that I've been selected to be on another Top 50 List of Dad Bloggers. This time it's Babble's Top 50 Dad Blogs of 2011. The information they have there isn't exactly current based on what my blog is right now but all this means is that I need to update my About Me page.

    This time I'm Number 21. And that guy, Fred Goodall a.k.a. Mocha Dad is right there with me...again! I just can't seem to shake the dude. Just jokes. We both began blogging within the year of 2008 and I'm honored to share any space with him. Other blogger buds who made it with me include @CK_LunchBox and @DadStreet.

    Again. I have to thank all of you reading here for being the reason the light is currently shining my way.

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      A Grown Man's Drawer

      A Grown Man's Drawer

      No way I was providing a "Before" picture...

      When I was a child I thought and acted like a child...

      But now that I am a man I put away childish things... or something like that...

      Rather than continue to complain that I only have one drawer in my bathroom built for two people...

      Rather than roll my eyes and curse quietly to myself because when I opened my drawer I couldn't find anything I wanted and then couldn't close it back...

      Rather than ask that people (the wife) respect my property, I decided to get even...


      Blown And Lost Opportunities

      There are definitely situations where we blow or miss opportunities. We have the option to be nice to a stranger or someone we know, yet we choose to act otherwise; we don't study for exams that we know count for major percentages of our grades; that hotness on two legs was waiting, obviously waiting for you to come over and talk to her. But you waited or took too long to move until someone else did.

      But the following question begs asking regarding "lost" opportunities:


      Mondays With Michelle: Banana Muffins

      Welcome to Monday’s with Michelle! Today, I’ve got a great banana muffin recipe that I want to share. This is one that I’m sure we can all use. I can’t tell you how many times we buy bananas in my house with intentions of eating them before they turn brown and mushy, but sometimes we’re just too slow and we’re left with extra ripe bananas that no one wants to eat. Don’t throw them away! Turn them into the most delish banana muffins ever.

      This recipe is super easy to whip up in just a few minutes; it doesn’t even require a mixer, just 2 bowls and a fork. Here’s the recipe:


      TGIF: HD-1, Haute Doggery

      Chef Michelle here! Thank God it's Friday! I shared this post on my foodie blog a couple weeks back and I thought it would be an excellent addition for Makes Me Wanna Holler. It's a fun, family friendly (read: inexpensive) place to enjoy a good meal. Enjoy!

      Clad in workout gear my good friend and I marched our way down the freedom park trail and eventually landed in the Poncey-Highlands right in front of Top Chef winner Richard Blais's new "Haute" dog joint.


      Parenting's Path of Least Resistance

      "We can do this the easy way or the hard way..."

      This line has been spoken in countless guy/action movies. The statement conveys the obvious: Choose the path of least resistance or choose otherwise and suffer. It is a threat issued with civility. We all watch sitting on the edge of our seats knowing that when threatened the good guy or bad guy will always choose the hard way. Our heart races as we watch the good guy prevail or the bad guy go down...


      My Good News To Share With My Family

      These days I have so many social media tools to maintain I sometimes overlook that they revolve around this blog. Good news falls through the cracks from time to time. Which brings me to the point: I am now a blogger at HuffPost BlackVoices. It is an honor, a privilege and a blessing to be able to tap into this new audience to share the good news about fatherhood and parenting. Hopefully I'll inspire a couple people while I'm at it. So far I only have one published post there but in time this will only grow.

      I hope you'll visit me over there and subscribe, Like, Tweet, etc my articles over there. You all, my readers here, are my family and I need you to grow with me as I grow as I have no intention of forgetting my very humble beginnings here. I owe a significant percentage of my growth to you all, my base that I strive to keep engaged daily, weekly, monthly and yearly.

      Thanks for reading, thanks for supporting and again please visit me over on my HuffPost BlackVoices page.

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          Age 40: A Work In Progress

          A little more than two weeks into forty and so far so good. My bones aren't cracking any more than they were two and a half weeks ago and despite what my son claims I'm no more crotchety or bald than I was the day before I turned the big 4-0. The only adjustment I've made is taking a daily multivitamin - nothing fancy, overpriced or made exclusively for MEN (thanks for the tip, Dr. Oz). If anything I've been losing weight at a rate of about a pound a week with my three times a week jog, a life without French fries (but still filled with milkshakes) and some pushups here and there. My backfat has once again disappeared and I'm looking forward to the day that my cheeks (on my face) begin to slim. As I've aged the only difference I've noticed between the last few years and all the years before then is that although I am able to engage in strenuous activity no different than before my recovery time is taking longer and longer. Pretty soon I'm going to need a charger just like all these devices that surround me.


          My Very Real Battle With Shyness

          This one is going to require more than one post and it will require way more words than I am writing right now. This is merely an introduction to a series of forthcoming posts.

          It's amazing how the human brain works. You might ask a question of yourself (something I highly recommend), only to forget about it and move on with your life. But that doesn't that mean that beautiful ugly gray organ inside your skull isn't hard at work seeking out answers to your questions. So at this point you are probably wondering what is it that I asked of myself. It was a short question of four short words:


          Made In China

          doll facesMy daughter and I were playing in her room this past weekend when she suddenly asked, "Why is everything made in China?"

          I looked at her, a bit caught off guard by the question and the fact that she's five. Then I realized we were handling most of her toys.

          I answered as thoughtfully as I could, "You know...that is a very good question."

          She was satisfied with my response (and probably deduced that I wasn't going to come up with a reasonable answer) and we continued to play.

          Photo Credit: Normanack

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            Guest Post: What is the Fruit of Marriage?

            I'm very happy to be able to provide a platform here. I'm also glad to be able to share the voices of other men who share the same if not more passion for the subjects of manhood, fatherhood and marriage. Joe B of Manhood V. Dadhood is one such gentleman. Please check out his contribution to Makes Me Wanna Holler and give him some love over where he blogs.

            Joe B and son

            I am a Special Education teacher, and I spend much of my days communicating with students who are unable to speak, or understand spoken or written language. In working with individuals with this obstacle, many people forget or don't realize that BEHAVIOR IS LANGUAGE.

            We have five senses, and we take in information from all five senses. The way we learn about how we are supposed to act is through what we hear and what we see. I am the youngest of 7 in a blended family, so I am naturally a people-watcher.


            Mondays With Michelle: Rosemary Potatoes

            Happy Monday! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

            Today I wanted to share one of my favorite easy side dishes… Rosemary Potatoes. This is for those nights when your family is staring at you with hungry eyes and all you’ve got is some miscellaneous meat defrosted in the refrigerator and no idea what to make with it. These potatoes are great with chicken, beef, lamb, veal, pork. You name it, they potatoes are the perfect compliment!

            Here is the recipe:


            T.G.I.F.: Grindhouse Restaurant Review

            Hello and T.G.I.F! Chef Michelle here and I've got another restaurant review for you. If you love burgers and live in Atlanta or plan to visit, then this one is for you...

            I finally made my way over to Grindhouse to experience their "Killer Burgers." I’ve driven past their Piedmont location on numerous occasions, especially since it’s across the street from Fat Matt’s (one of my big time favs).

            BURGER TIME!!!


            R.I.P. Steve Jobs

            Steven Paul Jobs, 1955-2011
            Are you a Mac or are you a PC?

            The first computer I ever laid eyes on was IBM's Big Blue. The first computer keyboard I ever touched was a Commodore 64 plugged into a television. The first legitimate personal computer I ever used was an Apple Macintosh and I continued to do so for nothing more than word processing all the way through college. I plunged forever into the abyss of PC from that point forward, deciding I didn't have the money for a shiny Apple computer. I've owned every iPod that has been made except for the 3rd and 4th generation iPod Touch. My son has broken, lost or had stolen just as many. My five year old daughter navigates my Touch as if it were her own. And my wife never feeling she needed anything more than a iPod Nano has never been without one since their creation. I have friends who swear by them, cousins and a sister-in-law who won't even consider touching anything else. The iPhone (as I have been mocked by my blogging and social media peers for owning a Palm Pre), iPad2 and the Macbook Air are in my crosshairs, God willing I am able to make them a priority financially.

            My son doesn't remember the evolution of Apple as it exploded back into the mainstream during his young years. My daughter will scratch her head in amazement when she reaches the level of understanding to know that at one point these amazing devices didn't exist a mere 30 years ago.


            Why The Dishwasher is the Devil

            This IS NOT a review...

            Growing up I was the dishwasher. This meant I washed and dried the dishes. My parents put the dishes away until I was tall and strong enough to do so myself. This among several other chores was what I did to "earn my keep" at Casa de Payne - Chi-Town. Via this experience I learned what a clean plate and cup truly is: it sparkles, it squeaks upon being touched and it doesn't streak unless your hands are dirty. Automatic dishwashers were out back then, but why get one when you had a living one under your roof?

            I owned my first automatic dishwasher at the age of 35. I ordered it from Best Buy and had it installed in the kitchen of a home I was flipping (back when homes could be flipped). It was beautiful. I only used it once: I turned it on to make sure it worked.


            REVIEW: Febreze Set & Refresh

            Let's face facts if you read my blog you're doing so because you can relate to some if not all of what I write. One thing I think we can all relate to is living in either a home or apartment. As someone who's done both I can say my least favorite part of the places we all call home is The Can and the odors that hang out there. I'm not talking about those odors that come about as a result of natural functions. Fortunately those pass...eventually. I'm talking about the damp odors that linger in towels and rugs and drains. No one has the time to clean the can everyday unless you have a maid or butler, neither of which I do, so room fresheners will have to do.

            Review: OxiClean Cleans in 5 Easy Steps

            A few years ago I was eating dinner at my mother-in-law's house and got spaghetti sauce on my favorite tie. I immediately panicked and she sought to fix my problem as any mother would do. She got a bowl, filled it with warm water and dumped a spoonful of OxiClean in it. I handed over my tie, she dabbed a rag in the solution of OxiClean and went to work on the stain, leaving a silver dollar sized white spot smack in the middle of my blue tie. My panic erupted into horror. Forget the marinara stain, there was no putting color back into my tie. It went into the trash with the scraps from my dinner. I learned one thing that night: OxiClean is concentrated and I never went near the stuff again.

            That is until recently when OxiClean sent me a 3 pound tub of their new and improved formula and a bucket.