I'm going to let you in on a little secret. But, shhhhhh. Don't tell anybody. <whispering...softly> Sometimes I use a packaged mix. <looks over shoulder> Not often, but I've found a few that I really like and can't really do much better. So I just buy them and tuck them away in the back of the cupboard so nobody can see. 

This is probably my all time favorite: Betty Crocker's Peanut Butter Cookie Mix. It just costs a few pennies, really. But honestly, don't tell the ladies at the school fund raiser that I'm cheating with a mix. You can buy it at the grocery store or in bulk here. Make sure you put it in the back of the cupboard and throw a towel over it. You don't want anybody to know our little secret.

By Russell W. Peterson | DayParentDad.com | 2014

Usually Disney is the one to kill off a parent in the opening scene. This sets up a struggle for a child to survive and achieve greatness. All you need is an evil step mother, a princess and an endearing humorous relative to complete the package. Thus is the set up for The Hundred-Foot Journey: A disneyesque movie for adults with food.

It turns out that the evil restaurateur, Madame Mallory, played consistently by Helen Mirren is actually not that evil. She just wants control and sees potential in a young chef played by Manish Dayal. Same goes for his father masterfully articulated by Om Puri. Charlotte Le Bon, who settles into the princess role as an up and coming sous chef, provides a bit of chic flick romance and tension.

The humorous and mostly believable struggle between Madame Mallory and Papa was the highlight of the movie. The small French town scenes were fun. If only the restaurants had been set there. It would have provided a richer atmosphere and experience. On the other hand it would have made the bicycle journeys in the countryside looking for produce, but finding romance a little more difficult. We also thought the film lingered a bit too long in the techno food world of Paris. More resolution upon returning home could have been an enhancement.

The Trophy Wife and I both actually loved the movie, except for the predictability part. The Hundred-Foot Journey receives 4 out of 5 theater seats.
Images courtesy Dreamworks.

My mother in law, who is a rabid gardener, appreciates a good tool. I think after years of being a home economics teacher, preschool leader and homemaker, she should know a good tool. Her yard and gardens show it.

Several years ago, she gave me my first Silky Saw. An incredible device that no homeowner should be without. I can honestly say that I have never had to sharpen that_ saw and it still cuts through limbs like a hot knife sailing through cold butter. It is performance art in action. Just go get one or two or three...

After a few of our cars met with unfortunate circumstances, we found ourselves in need of an affordable commuter car for the kids. We looked at many cars and ultimately decided on the Fiat 500 Pop. I'm not a car jockey, so if you are looking for a review on the engine size and power or the specifics on the power train or the handling, you'll need to go elsewhere. What I can tell you is that it has been a perfect car for our family. 

I have driven from Minneapolis to Chicago in this car comfortably. The kids use it daily to get to school and activities. And we use it to tool around running errands and such on the weekend. It seats 4 people comfortable. Yes, I was surprised too. The dash is uber hipster stylish which the kids really like and includes a programmable computerized dash and USB port. It gets great gas mileage - around 38 mpg. It has a great storage compartment with fold down back seats for hauling larger items. It is easy to get in and out of all of the seats. It also has a great deal of zip for a little car and merges in and out of traffic on the freeway quite nicely. 

I have only two complaints. We've had to change two tires in the past year due to potholes and road hazards. I also have a hard time remembering that the power window controls are on the inside near the shift stick; not on the doors.

We have the automatic model pictured above in the light green color. I can highly recommend the Fiat 500 Pop as a great all around small car with a big heart and a lot of power. Starting prices are under $20,000.

    Dad's Best Reviews

    You know I'm going to have a say about almost everything. Who doesn't. Enjoy the ride! And don't talk back, or I might invite you to write a review.

    All reviews are independent and unbiased. Any sponsored or paid review listing will be identified as such.

    Russell Peterson

    I have an online friend who thinks a good slathering of lipstick can help anything. I'm dubious. Architecture, movies, restaurants, shows, products, you name it I've got an opinion.




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