Thursday, August 25, 2011

Probably My Favorite Salad Ever.

As I was eating my salad at lunch today I began to feel guilty for partaking of something so yummy and not telling somebody about it.

A salad this simple, yet delicious, should be shared.

So I grabbed my cell phone and snapped a photo for you. I was too lazy to take a real picture.

It is my go to meal when it is just me and the kids here at home during the day. Or for dinner when my husband is away and I don't want to cook a big meal.

I was inspired by the "Strawberry Pecan Chicken Salad" at Longhorn. But was less than inspired by their salad's calorie count so I decided to try and create my own version.

This is what I came up with:

  • I'm not an iceburg fan so my favorite mix is this one by Fresh Express Salads.

    The perfect mix of Baby Spinach and Spring Mix.

  • Next I slice up some purple onion...lots of it. I heart purple onion.

  • Then I half a whole slew of seedless red grapes.

    *When in season I add strawberries as well and they only sweeten the pot.

  • Then I add some Reduced Fat Feta crumbles. Yum.

  • Then I top it with my favorite salad dressing.

    This dressing is to die for in my opinion.

    I love it so much I take it to restaurants. Don't be afraid to do this. Most restaurant dressings are oozing with pointless fat. And in my opinion they are tasteless. So I take my own and whip it out when my salad hits the table. It is light and delicous. Perfect.

    *Disclaimer: I cannot be held responsible for any embarrasment or shame you bring to your family by whipping out said salad dressing from the black hole that is your purse. It will be your responsibility to tell them to get over it. Be strong.

  • Lastly I top it with a few sprinkles of almond slivers.

    And there you have it. A simple yet healthy and delicious salad. Enjoy!

    PointsPlus for this meal:
    Purple Onion:0
    1/4c. Reduced Fat Feta:2
    2 Tbsp.Kraft Light Done Right Balsamic Vinaigrette:1
    1 Serving (7grams) of Almond Accents:1

    I'm linking up here:

    It's a Keeper

    Tidy Mom

  • Friday, August 12, 2011

    Operation House Restoration...OVER! {InstaFriday}


    After three long, grueling, testing of every ounce of patience in my DNA months, all of our house restorations are over! Our tile shower is now properly installed and we were even able to get a little creative with the flooring this time around.


    The final touch was putting our kitchen ceiling back in.

    I kept expecting men in white suits, breathing heavily, to come trekking through my doors looking for an alien in my bathtub.


    Girls Night Out.

    Need I say more really?

    I will add one disclaimer here: the dark blob on my ankle in this picture is not a tattoo. I do in fact have a tee tiny tattoo on that ankle, but trust me you would need a magnifying glass to see it here. I have no idea what this is.


    Last week I declared one whole day be "unplugged"...copious amounts of whining and groaning ensued.

    But shortly thereafter, I stumbled upon this in my living room.

    All 3 of my kiddos...including the teenager...engaged in a game of Monopoly. Star Wars Monopoly.


    They were having such a good time that Nick just had to get in on the fun.

    After seeing this I was halfway tempted to put the t.v. on the street. Along with cell phones, iPads, and iPods.

    But I remembered that hockey season is just around the corner and I decided I kinda like being married.


    While dad was out of town, we had a Redbox movie night and watched Mulan.

    My favorite Disney "princess" movie by far.

    I have never been a fan of the fru-fru princess movies.


    Give me a gutsy tomboy defending her country and her family's honor any day.

    My Aidan was inspired that's for sure. He went upstairs and came back down sporting a warrior garb made of belts.


    We found this on our screened in porch last week.

    The kids ran to fetch the magnifying glass faster than I could say "homeschool momma's dream."


    Speaking of homeschool, we are stocking the bookshelves and gearing up for year 5 here at McManus Academy.


    I lost our homeschool room this year to the teenager, so I've decided to move it all downstairs to our reading area in our Living Room. I was inspired by Jamie who also has her schoolroom in her living room. Except she doesn't have her kitchen ceiling fan laying in hers.

    It's more practical. Half of it ended up down here by days end anyway. Now I just need to find the perfect table on Craigslist.



    Oh no Mr. finally got it right!

    life rearranged

    "My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    Because Clip-Ons Just Weren't As Cool As She Thought They'd Be.


    I never had Maggie's ears pierced as a baby.

    I could barely take her to get her vaccinations without feeling like I had betrayed her.

    Obviously taking her to get holes punched into her little ears was not high up on my list of things to do.

    I suppose I also felt that it should be a decision she should make for herself one day.


    As she grew older I would ask her from time to time {usually when walking through a mall} if she would like to get her ears pierced.

    Always the same answer. No.

    As she moved into these tween years, she began to tell me that she was in fact NEVER getting her ears pierced and that she would in fact proceed to wear clip-ons the rest of her days here on Earth.


    Yes, my daughter is that matter of fact with her opinions on how she wants to do life. Did I mention she is my strong-willed child? And that she has the next 20 years of her life planned out?

    Sometimes I wonder if we share the same DNA.


    I'm not sure what happened recently to change her mind but she asked me a couple of weeks ago if I would take her to get her ears pierced.

    I believe it was a combination of her growing frustration over the lack of clip-ons available in stores, the pain they caused hanging on to her ear lobes for dear life, and perhaps maybe even a pinch of coming of age.

    Probably the latter.

    She has been doing a lot of that lately. ::sigh::

    This momma's heart can hardly stand it.


    I must say looks beautiful on her.

    "My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

    Tuesday, August 9, 2011

    My Daughter is Fearless and I'm Still in High School. {The County Fair}

    My daughter was gifted with the artistic gene.

    No denying it.

    The girl has such an eye for photography.

    Not to mention her love of all things creative.

    So this week when the County Fair rolled into town, we decided to enter a few of her pieces.

    She needed a black and white print and a color.


    So I took her on a photo walk downtown.


    This was her color entry.


    And this was her black and white.

    I know I'm a little biased and all, but I think they are fabulous.


    And this little zebra print beauty is her "duct tape purse".

    Yes, you heard me right...that entire purse is made out of duct tape.

    Is it "duct" tape?

    Or "duck" tape?

    I have always said "duct" tape but the label says "duck".

    I'm so confused.

    Anyhoo, she entered this under "Recycled Crafts".

    Unfortunately, neither of her photos placed in the competition.

    This is where, if we were having this conversation in person, I would roll my eyes and talk smack about the judges and their obvious lack of an "eye" for good photography.

    However, this lovely little bag, that she labored over for days, took home a gorgeous red "Second Place" ribbon.

    And I took home a girl with an ear to ear grin.


    On a side note:

    While we were registering Maggie's exhibits at the fair, she noticed some adults entering their photos as well. She said, "I didn't know grown-ups could enter pictures and stuff too!" I explained to her that yes, there were categories for adults to enter as well. She then managed to spend the entire car ride home insisting that I too enter my photos.

    In that moment...while entertaining the thought of entering my photos...I was made well aware of the reason I had been so set on getting Maggie's photos ready for entry, yet had never once considered entering my own.


    Fear of rejection.

    Fear of criticism.

    My pictures are an extension of inner most parts of my soul. The way I see life through my lens.

    Putting them here on my blog for all to see is not the same as putting them on display to be critiqued. That felt more like saying, "This is what I deem as you agree?"

    Just thinking about it left me feeling like the 5th grader that hoped someone would ask her to sit at their table for lunch.

    The girl that searched for acceptance and validation.

    Yes folks, sometimes in my head it is Jr. High and High School all over sitting on the sidelines paralyzed with fear.

    In that moment, I decided that my daughter would not see that fear manifested.

    I drove home, printed out a few photos, and drove back to the fairgrounds.

    This time to enter my own exhibits.

    I took home two white "Third Place" ribbons. One for this photo and one for this one as well.

    But it was about so much more than the validation that came with the ribbons.

    So long sidelines.

    I'm linking this post up here:

    Sweet Shot Day

    "My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    2011-2012 Curriculum

    It's that time again.

    Year 6 of our Homeschool journey.

    No big changes to our curriculum this year. Just my choice for Bible. Maybe it is just me but I can not seem to find a Bible "curriculum" that I even remotely like. Yet every year I feel this weird pressure to pay money for one, one only to ditch it by Christmas. Am I the only dummy doing this? Please don't answer that.

    After much prayer I decided to go with my gut this time. I'm digging into God's word and counting it as "Bible"...imagine that!

    We will also use these wonderful resources:

  • Character Building for Families Volume 1

  • Simply Charlotte Mason Scripture Memory System

  • Seeds Verse Checklist

  • Jesus Calling for Kids

    For Character building I also highly recommend this:

  • Complete Character Training Package

    Shirley Solis is a dear lady/mentor that I have come to know and love through our local Homeschool Expo. She and her family own an amazing bookstore. This is not a curriculum for your children but instead it is a "how to" for moms. So many of us did not have proper character training ourselves growing up and therefore we struggle with instilling it in our children. I had the privilege of previewing this package and I can not recommend it enough to you. I took gobs of notes while listening to her. Life changing content for me. Plus, I've met her kiddos and the proof is in the pudding people.

    In this, she speaks of ministering to the hearts of our children in the midst of disciplining them and building their character. This was a defining moment for me as a mother. The Lord convicted me so deeply. This was an area I was failing my children in. So many times I have been quick to discipline or correct them without allowing the Lord to show me how to best minister to their hearts in that moment as well. Again, I can not recommend this enough to you as a mom.


    Everything else seemed to work well last year so, you know...if it ain't broke right?

    **For those that may be visiting here for the first time, we are blessed beyond measure to be part of an "18 years and still going strong" Homeschool Tutorial. LCA offers college prep courses and meets once a week leaving us at home the remaining four days. Best of both worlds.
    As of right now our 15 year old is the only one in the actual Tutorial classes. Our younger children attend the Elementary program they offer which is considered "enrichment".**


    The Sophomore {Tyler}

  • Geometry -Teaching Textbooks
  • World History II -Abeka (Taken at Tutorial)
  • Spanish II -Rosetta Stone
  • English 10 - An all encompassing Literature based class using great pieces of Literature combined with MLA format writing. (Taken at Tutorial)
  • Biology with Labs -Apologia (Taken at Tutorial)
  • Typing - Typing Master (First time using)


    The 6th Grader {Maggie}

  • Math 6 -Teaching Textbooks
  • Language 6 -Abeka
  • Handwriting -Abeka and Copywork
  • Science -Sonlight (Core D) After 3 years of World History we are pumped about getting into American History this year.
  • History -Sonlight (Core D)
  • Reading -Sonlight (Core D Advanced Readers)
  • Vocabulary -Wordly Wise
  • Spelling -Spelling Power {Love}
  • Drama (Tutorial)
  • Writing- IEW/Excellence in Writing (Taken at Tutorial)
  • Keyboarding for Children -Gamma Keys (First time using)


    The 3rd/4th Grader {Aidan}

    Aidan has a late birthday so if he were in public school he would only be in 3rd grade. Since we homeschool, and since he is the youngest of three, he was begging to do "school" long before it was time. I have always just followed his lead. So he does most of his subjects on a 4th grade level and a couple of them he does on a 3rd grade level.

  • Math 4 -Teaching Textbooks
  • Language 3 -Abeka
  • Handwriting -Abeka 3 and Copywork
  • Science -Sonlight (Core D)
  • History -Sonlight (Core D)
  • Reading -Sonlight (Core D Regular Readers)
  • Vocabulary -Wordly Wise
  • Spelling -Spelling Power
  • Art and Music -(Tutorial)
  • Keyboarding for Kids -Gamma Keys

    Be sure to check out all of the great Curriculum posts linked up over at Heart of the Matter this week.

    Not Back to School Blog Hop

    "My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

  • Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    Psalm 113:3 {Sweet Shot Tuesday}

    "From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised." ~Psalm 113:3


    "My every mortal breath, is Grace and nothing less"

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