What We’re Eating: BLT Salad

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We are still LOVING Plan to Eat. That 5 ‘o clock hour is so much better since I can link our meal planner to my Google Calendar, which sends me my Daily Agenda every morning at 5 a.m. When I wake up, I know exactly what my plan is for the day. (Implementing aforementioned plan is a different story.) Love it! If you want to sign up for a PTE trial and take my friend Kat’s Meal Planning Boot Camp, you’ve got nothing to lose but stress! (Note: Excuse the non-pro pics. Camera phone is the quickest to capture these pics.)

Changes and Suggestions
I love trying new recipes, but don’t like to spend too much time on prep. Trader Joe’s bagged greens that are already chopped is a time-saver. We love bacon, but don’t eat much of it, and especially don’t always have it at hand, so the sub for that is bacon bits. (If you leave the bacon out, it would technically be a LT salad instead of BLT salad.) I know, it’s not the same, stop yelling at me. :p Instead of doubling the feta to 8 oz, I just used 6 oz since that is how much is in the TJ’s container. Canned corn would work if you don’t have fresh corn on the cob.

Do not just make the 2 servings that is in the original recipe (I changed it to 4 servings down below). You might not want to put all the extra avocados in if you’re making more, only because you don’t want to eat brown avos in your salad. Go big and make a ton of this salad because there are quite a bit of ingredients to prep, so you want to make the most of your time in the kitchen. Plus, everyone loves it and will want more anyhow. I found that 1 pint of tomatoes for the 2 servings was a bit too much, so even having 1 pint for the 4 servings would be sufficient, unless you LOVE grape tomatoes, than go for it!

Verdict
Happy bellies all around!

On this particular evening, we had guests over for dinner AND I was bringing a meal for another family of six (one is a baby), so if you are looking for something literally to “throw together”, this would be the recipe!! We also had baked potatoes and chicken tacos from TJs.

– Joyce

Click on the link to view more of WHAT WE’RE EATING

Inspiration
BLT CHOPPED SALAD WITH CORN, FETA + AVOCADO recipe from How Sweet Eats

Total time: < 25 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups butter lettuce, chopped
  • 4 cups arugula, chopped
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 8 slices thick-cut bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 1 1/2 cups sweet corn
  • 2 avocados, chopped
  • 6 ounces feta, crumbled
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Instructions:

Put all the ingredients into a large bowl and toss it all around.

*Younger kids can definitely help out with making this salad, especially if the bacon is already prepared ahead of time so no frying involved.

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

My Day with (Flat) Flash

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I shared in a FB post at the beginning of the month: I started reading Flash and can’t wait to find out more about what a homeless donkey can teach me about life, faith, and second chances. Rachel was one of the very first bloggers I “followed” 7 years ago!, and if my house seems remotely uncluttered or clean to you, it’s all thanks to her and Minimum Maintenance. Be on the lookout for more about Rachel and Flash soon!

In term of blogging, 7 years is pretty much an eternity, so we’ve “known” each other forever! Some of my favorite online friends are from the Company Girl Coffee link-ups, and I hope we will some day all meet up for coffee! It was also a fun little surprise when Emily showed up on Home Sanctuary. That same year, I shared why Home Sanctuary is a Site We Love. If you would like to make your home a sanctuary, check out the Small Things.

I love Flash..both the book and the donkey. If you don’t think you could learn a thing or two from a donkey, think again! Flash may teach you something about life. Below are some takeaway wisdom from each chapter of the book, along with some pics from our day with Flat Flash on World Donkey Day. Enjoy!

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Some days just call for chocolate, tea, and a book about a donkey. Priscilla Shirer and Rachel Anne Ridge had a webcast about Finding God in the Everyday Moments – how God uses our interruptions, inconvenient situations and everyday moments to speak to us. You can watch that HERE –> rachelanneridge.com/webcast.10434373_10153343017396155_3236913975459758276_n

Happy World Donkey Day! Follow me and Flat Flash in our adventures today. He was a little confused why there was cleaning stuff in the car. We started out our day with 7 other friends cleaning another friend’s house. It was truly more of a blessing to us that she allowed us to serve her today.
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Repeat lunch from Taco Tuesday and dishes done! It’s an adventurous life for us.4IMG_20150508_133650

We took a walk to the mailbox to send a letter to Emily’s penpal in Ohio. Flat Flash made sure to stop and smell the roses. That’s a rose, right? I’m so not a gardener, and have a brown thumb.
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A sampling of flowers we saw in our neighborhood on our walk to the mailbox… Thank you neighbors for making our neighborhood beautiful! 10,000,000 points to anyone who can name all those flowers! So far, no one has been able to name all 12 flowers.
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Flat Flash is a bit bored with me. My in-laws are over so I am using this (mostly) kid-free time to do some work on the computer, sign the kids up for VBS, etc. What have you been up to on this fine World Donkey Day?
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We finished eating dinner, the table is cleared, the dishes are washed, and the girls are getting ready to take a walk. They think it is just our usual after-dinner walk around the neighborhood, but we are actually going to ‘run into’ my hubby coming back from the train station. He has been out of town for the week on a work trip, and was able to fly back earlier than expected. The girls thought he would be back after they go to bed.
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They thought we were going to take an after-dinner walk (with Flat Flash), but look who’s home from a week-long work trip!!
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A snack before bedtime…our favorite varieties right now are Fuji and Ambrosia. Yum! I think Flash the Donkey would like them too. Flat Flash says don’t forget to brush your teeth (he needs to work on this one) and say your prayers!
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Flat Flash was curious about the package we received, and found out that Melody’s book about our Australian adventures arrived!
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What other adventures should Flat Flash go on?
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Melissa is the winner of our book giveaway. Yay! If you want to read Flash, make sure to head to your local bookstore or library, or you can get your own copy on Amazon.
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And if you have a moment, check out how donkeys are helping impoverished families around the world. You can sponsor a donkey just like Flash did!6a00d8341cc30c53ef01b8d1107dcf970c

Flash

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Be warned! There will be lots of links in this post. They all direct you to good things, so don’t worry. Just click away, and let me know what you find. :)

“I love the trailer because it reminds me of all the times in life that the answers we are looking for show up in unexpected, unlikely packages.” – Rachel

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Webcast with Rachel, Flash, and Priscilla Shirer HERE. Spoiler: rolling in hay is involved.
Donkey Tales at Home Sanctuary (Rachel’s blog…one of the very first blogs I followed)
What Can a Donkey Teach You? blog post by Priscilla Shirer
Best Summer Books in Publishers Weekly
– Download the free devotional: Finding God in Your Everyday Moments
– Celebrate World Donkey Day, May 8th!

You are invited!!
If you are in the Midlothian, TX area, don’t miss the book release party on May 9th!

Connect!!
Flash’s info – FB | Twitter | #FlashTheDonkey on Twitter | #FlashTheDonkey on IG
Rachel’s info – FB | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Buy The Book

Giveaway!!
One lucky reader will receive a copy of Flash. Giveaway ends Wednesday, 5/13.

For your chance to win, leave a comment below sharing something about donkeys (I know you have a donkey story to share! :p), or share something you found when you clicked on one of the above links, or just say “Howdy”. For extra entries, tweet about the book, share on Facebook, or leave a comment on any other post here on our family blog Keeping Up with the Moys. Leave separate comments to each extra entry with link to entry if possible.

“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Books I’ve Read {April Update}

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FINISHED
I have been feeling a little scattered-brain after coming back from our trip, so I was glad to jump into reading some books that helped me to get on track with what my priorities. “Focus” has been on my mind.

21 Days to a More Disciplined Life by Crystal Paine – This was a re-read. I had gone through this book when HelloMornings did a little book club. Part of the book discusses being disciplined in working through one small project a day and one Mega project from beginning to completion through the 21 days. If you know me, this is challenging for me because I like to do many things, read many books,…you get the picture, all at once. A hard lesson I have learned is that for some things, I really do need to focus. This book is perfect. There is one chapter for each day for 21 days. The chapters are short and there is a practical application each day to guide you to complete your task.

The Art of Work by Jeff Goins – What do you want to be when you grow up? I think a lot of grown-ups are asking that question of themselves. In The Art of Work, Jeff shares his personal experience of really taking a look at what he was meant to do. He also shares some powerful stories of others who have re-evaluated what they were meant to do, and figured out how to live their lives beyond the mediocre. Now…to figure out what I want to be when I grow up… 😜

Tell Your Time by Amy Lynn Andrews – This was another re-read for me, but this time I actually worked out the different steps that Amy shares about and going through the printables to come up with a practical schedule that helps me to reach my goals and build important relationships. The roles, goals, and activities, and charting the activities on the grid were simple, but getting all of that into a real-life schedule that worked was really hard. I realized that none of the groups/activities we are involved in happen at the same time each day. MOPS is on Tuesday mornings, Awana is on Wednesday evenings, AOK is on Thursday afternoons, etc. It was kind of hard to plot it on the schedule. I think I might have to tweak it some more, but I do see that I have more cushion than I thought I had, I just have to make sure I use my time more wisely. (aff link)

READING
Looking forward to reading these books in May. Anyone else want to join me?

Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson
Flash by Rachel Anne Ridge

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Have you read any good books lately? What are your favorite kinds of books to read – mysteries, biographies, historical fiction, cookbooks?Book List 2015To check out the books on my book list, you can READ THIS POST or visit our Amazon store.

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Day 4: Taronga Zoo {Australia 2015}

Note: Most links in the post will direct you to our reviews of the places. Links to all related/previous posts are at the bottom of this post.

We were still a little tired from traveling, but we were ready for a day at the zoo. It was a ferry ride away, so that added to the adventure!

Travel by Ferry
The ferry ride was actually only about 12 minutes long. We got to see the sights that we will be visiting through the week.

Taronga Zoo
After we got off the ferry, we took the Sky Safari into the zoo. The timing was not quite right for us because we were planning on taking the direct path all the way around the zoo, and that would mean missing a lot of the shows and feedings that were taking place. We did get to go to the Reptile Keeper Talk. It was pretty informative. We ended up leaving a little early because it was SO informative. 😝 Beware of fast-moving ants. They were everywhere!! If you are taking a break to drink some water or eat a snack, make sure to look before you sit anywhere!!

The Fish Stop
We decided to get some food at The Fish Stop. I wonder if it is strategically located halfway on the path around the zoo. It was pretty hot out at this time and the exhibits are fairly spread out, so we definitely needed to stop. It was also when everyone else needed to stop too. The Fish Stop was packed. The food was decent, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea if you brought your own lunch and found a non-crowded area to sit and eat. Also, watch out for the big birds. We saw one take food from a neighboring table.

Return by Ferry
It was nice to finally sit down and enjoy the breeze on the ferry ride back to Circular Quay.

Goshu Ramen Tei
For dinner, we picked up some Japanese food from a nearby restaurant. Check out our review HERE.

Highlight
The highlight of our day was seeing all the animals that we don’t see at the zoos in the United States. It was interesting to learn new things about the world around us!

Click on the link to view the DAY 4 ALBUM.

Related Posts:
Traveling with Kids | Australia Trip 2015 Recap | Aussie Lingo
Day 1: OAK to HNL | Day 2: HNL to SYD | Day 3: St. Philip’s & MCA Cafe

American Girl Books

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Melody has read lots of the American Girl books lots of times already, but Emily got really interested in them after she played with the Felicity doll while we were in Australia. So we started with reading the Felicity books (there are six of them) and then the Kit books (there are also six of them, and we also checked out the mystery book and the “Beforever” book). They also have the DVDs of the movies at the library, so we watched those too.

Emily started really reading with fluency and expression right before she turned five, and there has only been a small number of times when she really showed interest in a book, especially chapter books. She does love to read, but it’s not her first choice if she could be playing or drawing or eating. 😜 I think part of her sudden interest is due to the fact that she is able to figure out what was happening during a specific period of time because of all the memory work she learned for the history sentences with Classical Conversations, and also where they are happening because of our recent travels and geography in CC as well.

Both girls are super excited to finish reading the Felicity series, and then get started on reading about Samantha!

I never read this collection of books growing up, so most of the stories are new to me. If these books are new to you too, I will say that there are many topics of discussion if you decide to go through them as read-alouds or if your kiddo is reading them on their own. Just in these two series, you can find yourself discussing war, apprenticeship, slavery, Boston Tea Party, Declaration of Independence, ownership, the Great Depression, friendships, the economy, technology of the past and present, fashion, history, family dynamics, home management, the Underground Railroad, being resource, the law, right and wrong, careers, and lots more!

Have you or your kids read any of the American Girl books? Which ones? Any favorites?

Apples

The girls have taken a liking (or love) for apples.  Fuji and Ambrosia are the favorite varieties so far.  I grew up eating Golden Delicious and Fuji.  Now I like Fuji, Pink Lady, and Ambrosia.

Can’t wait to go back to Apple Hill and have some more Apple Milkshake!

Lucky’s has an apple variety chart that was pretty interesting.  Have a look-see.

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– Norm