A Big ol Salad for Lunch

I love making a big ol salad for lunch. It's good and good for me! I do lots of greens, a diced tomato, a cucumber and any leftover meat, vegetables, or pasta from the night before. An herb, maybe a little grated Parmesan cheese. If I don't have meat I will boil an egg. The possibilities are endless.

Briannas Real French vinaigrette is my favorite store bought dressing. I like that there is no sugar in it. I used to make a lot of my own salad dressings and often I still do. But this one is simple and good, and it really encourages me to eat more salads.

Making a good lunch for myself is a huge morale booster. It keeps me from snacking in the afternoons.

What do you eat for lunch?


Places to Go People to See

As much as I'm looking forward to those pumpkin muffins, and as badly as the summer started, I have to admit that we have had/are having some really great times this summer.

For starters, we have had so much QT with friends and family. Also, the Lord has placed an adventurous spirit within me.

The combination of these two things makes me feel like I've come out from under a rock.
For the past half decade, I've been in the zone, having babies and taking care of babies. But this summer, everyone is at a great age. We leave the house a lot, sometimes for hours or a couple of days if we are feeling crazy. As a group, we have energy and stamina. We're reasonably flexible. All I need is a diaper we're good to go! I'll buy wipes when I get there.

We have places to go...and people to see!

Last week, we went with friends to the zoo, the $1 movie, and I enjoyed a night out with girls sipping on a margarita and sharing a quesadilla with my sister.

pics from our zoo adventure...
(did I really need to clarify that?)


Over the weekend, I took the kids to Jackson to visit my fam and go to a dear family friend's wedding. I hesitated to go because (big) Stephen could not go with us, and 4.5 hours in the car with me being the only one over age 5, well, I was a littler nervous. But the car ride was totally fine and I'm so glad I went!

The rehearsal dinner and wedding were so great.
My kids got to play with my cousin's children.
I got to hang out with my mom, dad, and brother.
I had a great visit with my aunt and uncle I don't see very often. And they, along with my cousin, babysat during all the wedding festivities.

I'm encouraged. It feels good to get out and see the world and be with friends.

Georgie is such a trooper, too.

After our long days adventuring, when the kids are finally tucked in bed, (big) Stephen and I love to snuggle down and watch an episode or two of Band of Brothers. Sometimes there's ice cream.


What about you? Are you having a home summer or adventurous summer?

More importantly, have you seen Band of Brothers?


First Meal at the New House

Monday night Stephen was working late at the new house, so we took a pizza over for dinner and had a picnic in the front yard. It lasted all of 3 minutes before the mosquitoes ran us inside.

We are working on kitchen, master bedroom, and bath renovations. We will (hopefully) move in the first of August. I'm anxious to get in there before school starts.

One thing I'm really excited about is painting the entire interior. I love the idea of a clean slate. Because I'm generally bad a picking out paint colors, the plan is to pick one color, a neutral, and paint the entire house that color. We will do the trim in the same color but different finish.

Right now we are leaning toward French Canvas by Benjamin Moore per the suggestion of this blog post by the girls at PARISH. Here is a blog post I found that gives you a good idea of the color.

I'm so excited about a brand new kitchen. I mean - so excited!

I'm also just ready for a new season and for a change. This has been a tough summer. Somehow, the idea of baking pumpkin muffins in my new kitchen comforts me. Also, I'm ready for school to start. I'm looking forward to the relief from constant childcare that school provides. I'm losin' it over here, y'all.


My Favorite Diet Book

French Women Don't Get Fat is my favorite (not really a diet) diet book. I love the common sense "secrets" that the author claims to have kept French women thin for generations. It goes something like this:
quality food over quantity food
smaller portions
drinking more water
lots of walking
shopping local markets for in season produce

Sounds fun, right?

I was telling a friend about this book and she pointed out that lots of French women smoke, curbing their temptation to overeat. Probably true.

Regardless, I got so much out of this book. I read it a couple of years ago when I was trying to lose some baby weight after I had Laurie and now it's the only "diet" I subscribe to. Recently I started listening to it on audible.com (which is another post for another day - my love of audio books).

Some of my other favorite food reads:
French Kids Eat Everything
Dinner a Love Story


This summer we have been regulars at the farmer's market. I love shopping this way. Almost every Tuesday morning you can find me loading up on a week's worth of produce and occasionally - flowers!

Last Tuesday's lunch.


Brown Bag Popcorn - No Oil Required

A while back I learned the neatest trick - you can make your very own homemade microwave popcorn in a simple brown bag! The method I used recommended you pour olive oil in the bag with the popcorn kernels. The popcorn was good but the olive oil was messy, seeping through the bag. And I still would add butter. So, butter + oil. You do the math. 

I was thrilled when I learned you could use the same brown bag method, but no oil is required. Just popcorn kernels and a brown bag yield the perfetco popcorn - no oil.

Pour 1/3 cup popcorn kernels in a brown lunch bag. Fold top down 2-3 times to secure a seal. Put bag in microwave on its side for 2 minutes and 30 seconds or until the kernel popping slows down. The time may vary depending on your microwave, so err on the side of 2 minutes and go from there.

Once popping is done, melt a small pat of butter in a small bowl in the microwave. Pour on popcorn and salt to taste.

Popcorn is inexpensive. If you're into chips, popcorn is healthier and much cheaper substitute. It is a great thing to pack in lunches, too!


Summer Things

With most of our traveling behind us, I feel like our summer is just now really getting started. We've had quite a few lazy mornings and they have been glorious! Not having to get everybody dressed, ready, and out the door at a certain time is my favorite. 

If we go anywhere, it is to the farmer's market or the pool. But we set our own agenda.

In an effort to maintain a little morning structure, I do make the kids (eventually) get dressed and then Laurie and Stephen have to "make" their beds. This deal has been going strong for about two weeks, and they are to the point where they need minimal help from me and they are taking enormous pride in their work! 


My afternoon rest time looks like this most days. By the way, I'm loving Les Mis. I'm past the very detailed beginning and getting into the thick of the plot. There's nothing like a good book for summer reading, right?!

Stephen is big in to playing doctor lately. Pictured here, he's wearing his doctor outfit, a short sleeved collared shirt and khaki pants. That is what our pediatrician wears, so naturally when he's playing Dr. Spooner he's properly in uniform. Don't you know George loved having his foot taped up and the scissors being used so closely to his toe?!

George is George. Just so dad gum cute all he time.

We had a great 4th, swimming at my sister's house and cooking out with friends. We enjoyed a pot luck style feast. All the friends brought sides and dips, and my bro-in-law grilled the most delicious bbq chicken.

Also, we loved having daddy home for a 3 day weekend.


I'm still on my Facebook and Instagram fast. And y'all, I'm loving the break. I feel like I'm getting more done and really sticking to my priorities. I actually feel more rested because my mind is not scrolling through news feeds.

The other day I was washing my big chopping block in the kitchen sink, the sun was shining through the window, and I was so enjoying the moment with nothing else I was supposed to be doing. There was nothing nagging me in the background. No phone to check. Take me back to 1999!

I know I will pop in periodically on FB and IG, but I might be done with those things as a part of my normal, everyday life. I know they are not this huge of a distraction for everyone, and I don't mean to imply that social media is morally wrong. It's just, for me, they are more of a hindrance than an asset in my life.


Happening in my kitchen this week...

I made these turkey wraps. Yum.

And I have a half batch of the Pioneer Woman's iced coffee cold brewing. 

Be back soon.


Enchiladas Verdes

I got this wonderful recipe from Stephanie. Stephanie and I grew up on the same street and our families went to the same church.

Long time ago, she blogged her enchiladas verdes recipe and I knew it was totally a keeper. Finally, I got around to trying it! I used flour tortillas because that's what I had, but next time I'm gonna try corn tortillas as the recipe suggests.

Capt' Steve had nothing but good things to say about this meal.

Copied and pasted from here:

Filling ingredients:
1 rotisserie chicken, meat shredded
1/2 of shredded Mexican blend cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon of cumin
salt and pepper

Remaining ingredients:
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
corn tortillas
bottle of salsa verde

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
To prepare enchilada filling, combine and mix all filling ingredients in a large bowl.
Spread 1/2 cup salsa verde in bottom of a 13x9 baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Put a good spoonful or two of chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla and roll up.  Arrange enchiladas seam sides down in dish.  Spread remaining sour cream and salsa verde evenly over enchiladas.
Cover and bake for 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated.  Top with more cilantro if you have any, because you can never get enough cilantro.  Enjoy with good chips and a cold beverage.


Saving $$ Buying Kid's Clothes and Swimwear for Next Summer

There are so many summer sales going on right now. It is the perfect time to stock up for next year. I have never bought children's clothing so far ahead of a season, but I feel like my children are in a good grove with their growing and they stay true to their age and size.

So I'm taking the opportunity to buy some clothes for next summer! I ordered Laurie this super cute bathing suit in a size up from Old Navy. Also, I could not resist this darling star dress from Gap.

I think the secret is to have self control and not over buy just because everything is on sale. What about you? Do you shop this way, buying ahead for next year?


Social Media Break

I'm doing a little experiment. I deleted my Instagram app from my phone and I changed my Facebook password, making it so complicated I can't remember it.

I have a love/hate relationship with IG and FB. Love keeping up with people, hate the addictive nature of it all. I just know I need a break.

The way the content of Instagram and Facebook is presented is so short and easy to consume it requires almost no attention span. It's training my brain to have no patience or discipline.

I'd so much rather blog with the time I have to be on the computer. I want to produce more and consume less. I feel so much healthier when I'm doing that. And if I need to connect, I can have a friend over or call or send an e-mail or text.

Lately the phrase be a woman of action has been running through my head. I want to print out those photos and put them in an album, paint that room, write the note, try the recipe, have those friends over to eat. I'm trying to throw off unnecessary distractions and do more.

Taking a break from Insta and FB is just one step in the right direction, I think. Less pulling of my mind. It's minutes upon minutes of my life back.

On a sort of related note...here are some pictures of the baby bird my kids tortured all yesterday morning. We found it on our back porch. I was more inclined to grab my real camera since I had no Insta. It's amazing the photography skills I've lost since I've had an iPhone.

Poor bird. I promise I intervened and made them put it down.


One of my best friend's husbands wrote this great article Why I Stopped Using Facebook

A while back I read Hamlet's Blackberry. I really liked it.

This book looks interesting Alone Together

After listening to this podcast on Life in Grace I was inspired to pick up Les Mis and give it another try. I'm a few chapters in.
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