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My Favorite Ceasar Salad {with Homemade Dressing}

I crave salad. And I know it’s not really “seasonal” for February like kale and cauliflower, but sometimes it’s all I really want! This Caesar salad is easy to make and fun to serve!

1 head Romaine Lettuce
1 cup croutons (easy to skip or keep on the side for those trying to trim up or gluten intolerant!)
1 Tb or more bacon bits (I usually fry my own and use several pieces)
1/2 cup Homemade Dressing
Parmesan cheese
Black Pepper
I also love to add thinly sliced red onion, black olives, and cucumber. So technically, is it still a Ceasar salad… maybe more Italian?? Either way, it’s versatile and delicious! Adding grilled chicken makes it a meal!

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 T. Vinegar
2 T Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic

I’d LOVE to know your favorite salads and recipes! I’m always on the lookout for green goodness!

{Awesome} Last-Minute Gift Idea for Children

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My shopping is done. Amazon prime is my best friend. And two small trips out into the big, bustling world wrapped up the little details. We are choosing simple this year. One big item for all to enjoy, each a small item that will inspire creativity, and clothes. Plus a few necessities & treats in the stockings. I love how it’s all come together. But two days ago I was still wanting *something* special for my nine year old son. Something in the “creative” category that would inspire him to get outdoors, use his imagination . . . and then I found it!

Two of my favorite homeschooling mom-friends and I often talk about our deepest dreams and desires for our children. How we want to raise them. What we want the end result to be. What we truly want our days to  look like, and how often we feel the pressure of the “traditional” and “expected” robbing us of our deepest dreams and ideals in how we long to raise and live with and teach our children. We really are LOVING the inspiration drawn from the #wildandfreechildren hashtag on Instagram. It’s the most beautiful, gorgeous feed and inspiration to us these days.

And so it was, that I came upon the final “perfect gift” to put under the tree. It’s in my son’s name, but I am giving him the challenge of being the leader for our family’s own little band of explorers in the weeks and months to come!

If you’re looking for something for one or more children ages 6-12 to enjoy for one month or an entire year, check out this link!

You will need:
Printing capability
Subscribe in order to gain access to former magazine issues
Print the cover of desired magazine
Insert into Binder cover
Print welcome email
Print First assignment
Print Assignment check list.
Insert into clear plastic sleeves
Wrap it up and look forward to lots of great kid adventure in 2017!!

You don’t even need to step a toe outside to get this gift together in a hurry! Oh, and I just have to say that my love factor went through the roof when I realized that the square photo I had for wrapping my son’s gift had the sign in the background which read “Oh Darling, Let’s Be Adventurers.” Seriously. I’m not a great far-in-advance planner, so when awesome little details like this just happen to come together, it’s a extra great day!! 😀 Have fun putting this together and watching your children explore and create in days to come! Have a Blessed Christmas!!

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From the website:

The Wild Explorers Club is a monthly, online membership program designed to ignite a heart for exploration and wonder in our kids. The program is intended for kids ages 6-12, but younger children can participate with the help of their parents.

The cost of the Wild Explorers Club is $14/mo and includes:

+ Weekly adventure assignments for each animal level
(plus bi-weekly emails to chart your progress)

+ A monthly “Wild Explorers” print magazine in the mail
(ships only to US & Canada / PDF for the rest of us)

+ A free logo patch in the mail for starting / A free patch per account after applying for each animal level (US & Canada)

+ Certificates for completing the weekly assignments
(with the opportunity to purchase patches for $8)

+ An online video show from our wilderness outpost
(with Ranger Kyle explaining each week’s assignment)

+ And other adventure content on the Outpost website
The Wild Explorers program is available to families in every location. However, they are currently only able to ship magazines and patches to participants in the US and Canada. As the program grows, they hope to add shipping to all international locations.

A Simple Panna Cotta & Thoughts on Offering Beauty

It is a gift of God to be able to create, enjoy, and offer beauty!


In my lifetime I have heard a mother criticize her daughters for standing in front of a mirror or using hair products in their desire to present themselves beautifully. I have heard ignorant or jealous hearts make comments about the wealthy as though it were evil to have means and holy to be needy. I am often tempted to “just get by” in doing what I must . . . BUT . . .

Last night Phil & I were blessed by his company to enjoy an evening at Longwood Gardens. I was impressed again at how beauty calms, refreshes, and inspires the soul! Mr. Dupont used his wealth and dreams and gifts to create amazing, beautiful architectural and botanical wonders!! Incredible thought and detail and quality was lovingly built into every corner of his work! He left a legacy of loving to create beauty, delighting in the children and families who were invited to enjoy the grounds each summer, and welcoming the community for a Christmas party each year. He loved to create and to see others enjoy what he was blessed to share.

This Christmas, and as I think about going into a New Year, I am reawakened to the wonder of using what God has given me…. “What do you have in your hand?”….. to slow enough to take the time for the details and the beautiful things, to allow God to speak peace to my own soul in the process of creating beauty in my kitchen, my home, my community ~to use my gifts as a means to love and serve my family, my neighbor. And just as Mr. Dupont’s work inspired praise in my heart to a wonderful Creator God, I pray that my own small works will do the same in the hearts of those around me today!


Buttermilk Panna Cotta & Minted Citrus Salad

1 1/4 tsp plain gelatin
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 pink grapefruit
2 oranges
1 TBsp sugar
1 TBsp minced fresh mint

1. In a pan over medium heat, mix cream and sugar. Cook just until mixture begins to bubble. Add gelatin, stir until dissolved. Stir in buttermilk and lemon juice. Divide custard among 6 6 oz. glasses. Cover with plastic wrap; chill for at least 8 hours.
2. Make a salad: cut off top and bottom of grapefruit. Slice off peel and white pith. Working over a bowl, cut in between membranes to extract segments. Repeat with oranges. Add sugar and mint. Let stand 10 minutes; drain. Uncover wanna cotta, top with citrus salad; serve.

**My tips: for a “less sugar” panna cotta, stevia may be substituted successfully for at least 1/2 of the sugar in the panna cotta and just a sprinkling added to the fruit. I haven’t yet tried the full substitution yet on the Panna Cotta. It could possibly effect the way it sets. But experiment if you like! Honey would also be an interesting twist! Panna Cotta is traditionally served *out* of the mold it was chilled in . . . this recipe stays in the container which makes it a great portable dessert when serving children or bringing a meal to a friend~use pretty, sturdy, clear plastic cups!



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