30 June 2015

Pecan, Pear, & Feta Salad

This is seriously the best salad.  Ever.  It's always a hit.

With ripe pear and tangy feta, it's the perfect side for summer, but those toasted pecans make it a great addition to any meal in the fall, too.

When I'm on top of menu planning and making meals (ha), we have this salad about once a week!  Sometimes, I even get fancy and go beyond just toasting those yummy pecans by candying them in a little butter and sugar.  Oh myyyy.

The secret ingredient that makes this salad so yummy is the dressing.  I used to not like vinaigrettes, but then my MIL introduced me to this one.  Oh my goodness.  I can't get enough of it!  (You should be able to find it at your local grocery, but if not, you can purchase on Amazon.  It's well-worth the price!)

This salad has a lot of variations.  If you're not a fan of feta, try it with bleu cheese (which is how my MIL often makes it).  If you don't like pecans, substitute walnuts.  I've even made it with crisp apples when I forgot to pick up pears!

Dice that pear, throw those pecans in the oven for about 5 minutes, then dump it all in the salad bowl with the lettuce and feta cheese.  Toss everything together with Brianna's Real French Vinaigrette, and you're good to go.

You know you want some of this healthy yumminess in your life! ;)

01 June 2015

The Big Five

(photo by MS² Photography)

You're five and I'm in denial.

It feels like yesterday that I labored to bring you into the world, yesterday that I held you for the first time, weeping from the emotion of it all, kissing all over your sweet little face.  And now you're five.  Break my heart.

You changed my life.  You made me a mama.  You made me who I am.

And every day, you shape me into more of who I'm supposed to be.

I am learning how to love better, deeper, more fully.  I am learning patience (very slowly, I will admit).  I am learning how to think of myself less and others more.

I'm also learning other things -- like the names of dinosaurs, facts about wildlife and aquatic animals, and so many (so. many.) Star Wars backstories -- things I never thought very important or interesting, but I learn them so that I will have an answer when you ask.

Because ask you will.  You love to learn more than anyone I know, which I guess you get from me.  In fact, you get a lot from me.  Some good stuff, some not-so-good stuff.  Your dad and I, we like to say that you got his mind, my personality, and both of our good looks. ;)

And anything you got from me, anything not great?  We can work on that stuff together, with God's help.

You, my precious boy, are an overcomer.  You are strong and brave and confident and humble and kind.  You are a deadly arrow.  You are a mighty man of God.  It doesn't matter if you don't see yourself as any of those things now.  It doesn't even matter if I don't.  What matters is that's who He has called you to be, and by His grace, that's who your dad and I will raise you to be.

I often tell your dad that there's nothing he can't do.  Out of all the people in the world, I truly believe that about him.  You are cut from that same cloth.  You can accomplish anything you want, be anything you want.  The sky really is your limit.

And you will always, always, always have a praying mama behind you.

Yesterday, you sweetly asked to read your brand-spanking-new real Bible (thanks Nana and Papaw!) then you asked to sleep with it -- melt my heart!  Of course we said yes.  I used to get scared at night, just like you, and I liked to sleep with my Bible under my pillow, too.

I pray you soon recognize the power in that book and that you always treasure its words above everything else.  May His Word continually guide and guard your feet and your heart and may you never stray from its commands.  May it become a foundation for you to build your life upon.  May you find life and love and hope in its pages as the Spirit reveals himself to you through them.

I love you, son.

Your Mama

Some of my favorite pictures of your fifth year.
You and your best buddy, Uncle Anderson.
(photo by EBYPhotography)
Hanging at your favorite place (the zoo), September 2014.
Same spot six months later... big difference! 
Preschool graduation and I could not be more proud.
So happy to be FIVE!  You've been talking about it for almost a year!
(Also note your favorite shirt, haha.)
That profile... that smile... that hair... that NOSE!  All the heart eyes!