Super Simple Strawberry Chicken Salad

Super Simple Strawberry Chicken SaladI remember the first time I tried a Strawberry Chicken Salad. I was at a Red Robin Restaurant of all places.

Since then, variations of the Strawberry Chicken salad have popped up at many restaurants and all over Pinterest. I picked and choose what I really liked (and did not) and came up with a simple recipe that I can put together in 20 minutes or so, is super healthy, and the total ingredients are reasonably priced.

Now, I do things a little differently here at ASimpleLifeToo. I like things short, sweet and simple… so I am going to get right into the recipe!

Strawberry Chicken Salad Ingredients:

1 lb of chicken

4 – 6 cups of baby spinach

2 small avocados

21/2 cups of strawberries

1 cup frozen corn off of the cob

1 cup of your favorite nuts

3/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

pinch of salt and pepper

Strawberry Chicken Salad Instructions:

Step 1 – Chop up chicken and saute for about 10 minutes (with a sprinkle of salt and pepper). Place on a platter.

Step 2 – Chop up the strawberries and the avocados and place on the platter with the chicken.

Step 3 – Thaw corn or cook for a minute and place on platter.

Step 4 – Place 1 cup of nuts on the platter or you can saute them for a couple of minutes in oil or butter.

Step 5 – Blend 1/2 cup of the strawberries with the oil, vinegar, and pinch of salt and pepper.

See how easy that is. And it tastes wonderful!

My goal this Spring and Summer is to help my family get healthier and loose some weight. I plan on making salads a minimum of 5 times per week.

Here are a couple of hot cookbooks that focus on making healthy and flavorful salads:

 

Super Simple Strawberry Chicken Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of chicken
  • 4 - 6 cups of baby spinach
  • 2 small avocados
  • 21/2 cups of strawberries
  • 1 cup frozen corn off of the cob
  • 1 cup of your favorite nuts
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Chop up chicken and saute for about 10 minutes (with a sprinkle of salt and pepper). Place on a platter.
  2. Chop up the strawberries and the avocados and place on the platter with the chicken.
  3. Thaw corn or cook for a minute and place on platter.
  4. Place 1 cup of nuts on the platter or you can saute them for a couple of minutes in oil or butter.
  5. Blend 1/2 cup of the strawberries with the oil, vinegar, and pinch of salt and pepper.
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A Simple Truth: We All Want To Be Sacrificed For, We Do Not Want To Be The One Sacrificing

Don’t you just love a good adventure movie? Especially ones where the hero of the story gets to “go on” because someone in the story sacrificed themselves?

But don’t we watch that story because WE want to be that hero that gets to go on, live life, accomplish some goal, and get the reward?

I mean, how many of us would actually WANT to be the one making the sacrifice? To end our lives for the sake of someone else, so they can go on. Even if it wasn’t a physical death, but just giving up what we want or the life we want. How many of us are willing to do that?

My greatest challenge these past few years is that God has been asking me to be a “sacrificer” not a “sacrificee”. And I sometimes struggle against it.

See, I had what our society calls “it all.” I had a great career, made lots of money – more than the average of this society, and I did not have any children. My money and time were all mine. Travel, eating out, movies, clothing, spa days, etc… were my norm.

And yet, I wasn’t actually happy or satisfied.

So God asked me to sacrifice that life so I could have this one instead: Being a homeschool Teacher, mother to four children, serving my community, living on a fraction money that I made, and giving up most of what I “loved.”

Not death, but certainly giving up a lot.

There are days when I am so grateful and I see the joy in making this sacrifice.

Then there are the days when I do not believe I can go on and I start resenting my sacrifice.

It is an ongoing battle, but I continue to choose they way of sacrifice.

Unfortunately, I am seeing others giving up and striving to be the “sacrificee” – all for the crumbs of this life.

What are YOU missing out on because you are still being a “sacrificee” instead of a “sacrificer”?

 

Clothing: You Will Love This Beautiful, Modest, Feminine Clothing

I do not subscribe to the Bohemian lifestyle per say, but I do admit that the Boho clothing, as a whole, tends to fit in with what I love to wear: soft, feminine, flowing, romantic, and frequently modest.

Yes, I believe women should dress in a way that is lovely and modest. What that means may differ a bit from woman to woman. For me, it means I always wear skirts or dresses (and they are below the knees). I do not wear low cut tops or tight fitting clothing. If I am wearing something tight fitting, it is usually under a sheer top or under a cardigan. Layers can be quite lovely.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. 

Below are a couple of amazing outfits that I found on Target.com and would buy if I had the budget:

Women’s Ballet Tutu Skirt – Mossimo Supply Co.™ – Even adults like to play ballet!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women’s Striped Maxi Skirt Green/Grey/Black Stripe – Merona™ – My maxi skirts are the foundation of my wardrobe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women’s Duster Kimono – Xhilaration™ (Juniors’) – This is about the Duster, not the jeans…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women’s Scoop Neck 3/4 Ruffle Sleeve Blouse – Knox Rose – Pretty color

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women’s Ruffle Top Green – Xhilaration™ – My favorite color!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women’s Ruffle Front Knit Blouse with Gold Bar – August Moon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women’s Floral Skirt Belted Sweetheart Maxi Dress – Lily Star – I would wear this with a shrug

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women’s Cold-Shoulder Maxi Dress Black – Xhilaration – I am not sure if I consider bare shoulders modest enough, but this is really pretty!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clothing: Find Your New Favorite Boho Outfit – Feb

 

Boho Junior and Womens ClothingI love feminine, romantic clothing and this new “Boho” trend tends to have a lot of choices in that area. If you enjoy flowing, beautiful dresses and skirts and tops, you should check out my Top 10 list this month for my favorite Boho finds on Amazon and maybe you will find your new favorite outfit!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. 

Mixmax Women Flowy Sheer Crop Sleeves Loose Chiffon Kimono Cardigan Blouse Top

Mixmax Women’s Strappy Casual Loose Boho Chiffon Pocket Long Maxi Dress

Milumia Women’s Boho Split Tie-Waist Vintage Print Maxi Dress

Milumia Women’s Button Up Split Floral Print Flowy Party Maxi Dress

Anna-Kaci Peasant Maiden Boho Inspired Cap Sleeve Lace Trim Maxi Dress

Urban CoCo Women’s Half Sleeve High Low Loose Casual T-shirt Top Tee Dress

Lannaclothesdesign Women’s Long Maxi Rose Multi Color Skirts Boho Skirts

Sakkas Dina Relaxed Fit Sequin Tie Dye Embroidery Cap Sleeves Blouse / Top

 

On Trend Women’s Paris Bohemian 3/4 Sleeve Faux Wrap Long Maxi Resort Dress

Sakkas Bree Long Embroidered Cap Sleeve Marbled Dress

What is your favorite clothing style?

10 Favorite Boho Outfits

Organizing: Do NOT Plan Or Schedule One More Thing Until You Do This FIRST

Priority Scheduling and Planning

How many days a week do you ACTUALLY get everything done on your schedule?

How often to your plans get changed or go awry? And do you ever sit (or stand if you put it on the fridge like me) before your schedule and wonder WHY? Why did I do it that way? Why isn’t everything getting done? And why don’t I feel satisfied?

If you are planning for the sake of planning, putting stuff on a schedule because you know you need to do something like that, or simply living week to week based on the the latest needs and emergency, then you are missing the KEY to planning! You are missing the FOUNDATION to build on.

I know, because this is what I have been doing for far too long and God has shown me a better way.

Super Simple Planning and Scheduling

The Key To Good Planning

I have been planning without purpose. Oh, I have some goals: get the house clean, homeschool the children, make sure errands are getting done… but I am not putting before me each week WHY. Why does the house need to be clean? Yes, I know there are lots of good reasons, but what is MY FOUNDATIONL reason?

The key to change my haphazard daily and weekly planning was that I FIRST needed to define PURPOSEFUL goals for my current season of life.

I needed to know what my priorities for my life (and my families life) were and then I could proceed to make a useful, working schedule for myself and my family.

Start With A Simple Daily Schedule

Blank Schedule
Blank Schedule

Here we have an empty weekly schedule. Notice how simple it is (the name of my site IS A Simple Life Too). Notice that it is not defined in an hourly fashion. I am a fairly organized person, but I am simply unable to stick to an hour by hour schedule. Outside of maybe one miracle day per month, it NEVER goes according the the schedule… so then I have to start erasing and moving stuff… crying a little as I am wasting more time doing that instead of the task… and feeling like a failure because I could not stick to the exact schedule.

Therefore, I do a daily task list instead. I keep it as close to the order the tasks and events should occur and I DO write down a time if there is an appointment. This way, if we don’t start “on time” or if a task takes longer or if we have to adapt and add something to the day, we can still be on track.

If something does not get done, I circle it and refer back to it the next day to see where I can fit it in.

How Priority Based Scheduling Works

Before I start entering ANYTHING into my weekly schedule, I write down my priorities on the bottom or top of the page. Some of them are the same for many weeks, even for years. Some are week, month or season specific. Theses priorities, in order, dictate what I then put on the schedule for that week.

For example, my first priority is a life priority, I have chosen to follow Jesus. My priority is to become more like Him and serve Him.

In a practical sense, this means the first thing I schedule each week it my time with God, my time to do devotionals with my children, any service the Lord has asked of me, church (and church events), and Bible Study.

Schedule With First Priority Tasks
Schedule With First Priority Tasks

My second priority is to take care of my family. This means time with my husband, homeschool, healthcare for the children (we have had a LOT of that lately), and some time for self care.

This results in me adding homeschool tasks, any doctor’s appointments, any outings with the family, children or husband, plus my every other week outings with myself or lady friends.

My third priority is a deeper teaching for my children. I have been reading the book of Titus over and over again for the past couple of months in our Tue night Bible study and the section on what older women should teach the younger has been a guidepost for me:

Titus 2: 4 – 5: so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

I am especially honing in on the “workers at home” part. So I am teaching my children to how to cook, how to clean, how to decorate, how to host, and much more. This dictates how I fill in most of the rest of the schedule with housework, who cooks what, time for our home based business, creative pursuits, etc…

The next priority can sometimes end up higher then the second or third. These are seasonal and holiday priorities. For example, we just had the Hanukkah / Christmas season. Since we were off of school for a couple of weeks and we had lots of holiday activities to do, this took precedence over everything except for devotionals, church and doctor’s visits. Yes, it even took a priority over housecleaning!

Final Schedule
Final Schedule

If other things come up, I evaluate them against those first sets of priorities, decide if they fit, if they bump out other things, or if they have to wait until there is a slot. I create a little list on the bottom of my chart called “to be scheduled” to keep track of them.

I sincerely hope you find this useful and that you find your weekly schedules having more purpose going forward. I am open to any thoughts or feedback you may have.

Feel free to use my Super Simple Homeschool Planning Worksheet. It takes about 1 minute to type the framework into your favorite spreadsheet program. Then you can update it on the computer or pencil stuff in (which is what I usually do) or you can get some great planners on Amazon!

 


Teach Your Children To Cook: Melt In Your Mouth Pumpkin Cookies

Teach Children To Cook Pumpkin CookiesThere are SO MANY amazing recipes available on the web today, but how many help and encourage you to make meals and memories with your children?

I mean, what are the holidays for? Are they not to make spend time with your family? To create Traditions? To pass down your favorite crafts, recipes, techniques, stories and more to your children?

This year we decided to try a few traditional holiday recipes from Better Homes and Gardens, modify them to suit our family, and teach the girls how to make them.

This recipe from BHG, the Melt In Your Mouth Pumpkin Cookies, was so easy for the girls to make. Your children will enjoy making and eating them!

We added cream cheese frosting, halved the recipe, increased the pumpkin, and used whole wheat flour (but you don’t have to). The BHG site includes a video if you want some extra help.

Teach Children To Cook Pumpkin Cookies

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Equipment Used

I teach the children to gather all of the needed equipment at the beginning of making a recipe. For this cookie recipe, we used:

Ingredients

I like to make recipes flexible. I comment here and there with a few modifications and suggestions.

Cookies: 

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, soften butter (in the microwave for 30 seconds for ease, or have left the butter out overnight).
  3. Add organic cane sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. We also added 1/2 tsp of cardamom for a unique taste, but you can leave it out if you don’t have that on hand.
  4. Stir until combined, scraping bowl occasionally.
  5. Add egg and vanilla; stir until combined.
  6. Stir in pumpkin.
  7. Stir in flour.
  8. Drop dough by heaping teaspoons, 2 inches apart on lined cookie sheets.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes.
  10. For the frosting, soften butter and the cream cheese (again, in the microwave for 30 seconds or have the butter left out overnight. Cream cheese is usually soft enough to mix w/o softening).
  11. Stir in vanilla and pumpkin.
  12. Stir in powdered sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time. Keep adding sugar until the frosting is thick, not runny.
  13. Wait until cookies are cooled before frosting. Use about one heaping teaspoon of frosting per cookie.

I would love to hear about your favorite cookie recipes to make with your children!

Want to start with the basics and teach your children to cook? Check out: Teach Your Children To Cook – The Simple, Healthy, Cheap Way: For Ages 7+ With Parent Supervision and follow the 16 incremental lessons to give your children a good cooking foundation and give them a beginning repertoire of recipes that they can use to contribute to the family meals.

Better Homes and Gardens is one of my favorite magazines. Click here to subscribe to Better Homes and Gardens.

 

Our 7 Favorite Childrens’ Biblical and Devotional Series On Pureflix

 

7 Favorite Biblical ShowsAre you wanting to find edifying media for your children to occasionally watch?

Would you like to teach them some basic Biblical and Christian concepts and disciplines through engaging videos made especially for them?

Do you want them to be able to watch something encouraging during a sick day? Or when you are too sick to do devotionals that day?

If you answered yes to any (or in our case – ALL) of these, then you need to go and get your free trial of PureFlix!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. 

Here is a list of our 7 favorite Biblical / Christian shows on PureFlix:

Just for kicks, some of these shows are links to Amazon.com so you can see the cost of purchasing them outright and what savings you get from the low cost of $7.99 per month on PureFlix. 

The Torchlighters’ Heroes of the Faith

Friends and Heroes

321 Penguins

Veggie Tales

Juniors Giants

Hermie and Friends

Kingdom Under The Sea

There are many more children’s biblical and christian shows on PureFlix, we just haven’t checked them all out yet!

Click Here to get your first month free!

A Simple Truth: Without God, The United States Will Become Another Babylon

I am sitting here watching God’s Not Dead 2, I am moved to speak.

without-god-the-united-states-will-become-another-bablyon-fbSomewhere over my lifetime, some of the people in this country, many in government places, have started a war on God, Christians, and the right to live and believe as we want.

They use excuses like “separation of church and state,” tolerance, and faith not having a place in our schools, businesses, and government.

People haven’t just turned from God themselves, they want others to turn from God also. They don’t want us to mention Him. They don’t want any of it to be true. They want us all to go away and let them do what they want… to let them live it up… and then die, in peace.

But we can’t let God leave this country, for when He does, it will become Hell. It will be so dark, so cruel, so depraved. Look at countries who have “kicked out” God, and what they have become.

Do you really want to live in Russia, North Korea, China, Hati, Vietnam, Thailand, Afghanistan, Iran, and many more atheistic or ani-Christian Countries?

I know I don’t.

God’s blessing is STILL upon us. Lets keep it that way.

God’s Not Dead, He Is Surely Alive!

without-god-the-united-states-will-become-another-babylon

Our Favorite Educational Shows On PureFlix

our_favorite_educational_shows_pureflixDo you ever use videos to supplement your homeschool / Christian school?

Have you ever had a few days or weeks of sickness, but you want your children to be learning, not just vegging out?

Would you like to have access to a variety of learning and educational shows – Biblical, Historical, Scientific (especially Creation Science based), Artistic, and even Fitness?

If you answered yes to any (or in our case – ALL) of these, then you need to go and get your free trial of PureFlix!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. 

Here is a list of our 7 favorite Biblical / Christian shows on PureFlix:

Just for kicks, some of these shows are links to Amazon.com so you can see the cost of purchasing them outright and what savings you get from the low cost of $7.99 per month on PureFlix. And some of these videos are hard to find, you can’t even get them on Amazon!

Drive Through History

Discover World

Discover Science

Mike’s Inspiration Station

Fit Family

There are also lots of Missionary Documentaries. A couple we have watched include:

Amy Carmichael

Travel The Road

Fanny Crosby

There are over 100 educational shows on PureFlix, we just haven’t checked them all out yet!

Click Here to get your first month free!

 

DIY: How To Make Simple Fall Jewelry and Hair Accessories

diy_fall_jewelry_accessoriesWe love Fall around here. The cooling down from a super hot summer, the change of colors of the trees, and the somewhat slower pace of life.

For the first time, we decided to tackle the fall theme and make some useful and practical fall crafts: fall themed jewelry and fall themed hair accessories.

Basic Fall Beaded Necklace with a Central Focus Piece

Lets start with the fiery orange necklace that my daughter Sarah created. Isn’t that center metallic piece with the orange leaves just stunning?




Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Necklace Supplies:

First, we went to Hobby Lobby and looked for two things:

  1. What was on sale – all our components, except for the toggle clasps which we call ‘findings’, was 50% off.
  2. What made us think of fall.

Sarah immediately found the metallic pieces and then the swirled orange beads. She then added the second set of slightly transparent beads to add texture to the final necklace.

I looked around a bit and found the beading wire for half off. The findings (the toggle clasps and crimp beads) were full price – but since the toggle clasps were the most expensive item, we got it using Hobby Lobby’s 40% off coupon! We used gold colored wire and findings.

The complete list then is:

  • Fall themed centerpiece
  • Fall themed beads
  • Beading wire (28 gauge)
  • Findings (toggle clasps and crimp beads)
  • Pliers or jewelry tools

Click here to find jewelry wire and tools on Amazon.
Click here to browse findings on Amazon.

How To – Steps To Create The Necklace

1 – Clear The Workspace

diy_fall_jewelry_accessories_2I love to start with a clean workspace. Since we don’t have room in our house for a separate place, I keep my craft items in bead boxes and stackable baskets. We then clear the end of the table, lay down a clean cloth, then lay out our supplies.

2 – Lay Out the Beads

Decide were you want the pieces of the necklace to go. Do not start beading on the wire until you have laid things out. You may want to experiment with different patterns, how many beads you use, etc… My oldest daughter Sarah created this necklace. She started by laying down the centerpiece. She then decided to do two of the smaller, slightly transparent beads and then one of the swirl painted larger beads. When she was finished, she added a couple of additional smaller beads onto the end.

Please note that the supplies in the photo above above made two necklaces.

3 – Measure Out the Wire

Now that you have the beads laid out, you also will know how long the necklace will be. Start your wire about two to three inches before the beginning of one side of the beads, then measure it out to the other side of the laid out beads, then add two to three more inches.

4 – Add Finding One (Toggle Clasp) to the End of the Wire

Since this Wiki article does such a good job in explaining how to start with the wire, the first half of the clasp, and the crimp beads. I will refer you to it vs. trying to explain it all here.

5 – Thread the Beads onto the Wire

Make sure your wire doesn’t have any kinks or bends in it, otherwise, the necklace will have kinks and bends. Now, start feeding the beads on from one end to the other. This is why you laid everything out beforehand, as you are starting at one end, then going to the other. This is the only way to make sure you get the centerpiece in the center of the necklace.

When you get to threading (putting on) the centerpiece, you will notice when you pick up the necklace, that it is sideways on the wire. You can do two techniques here.

  1. Make a simple twist of the wire (two times) until the centerpiece is facing forward.
  2. Use a finding called a jump ring. Thread the jump ring onto the wire instead of the centerpiece, then thread the jump ring through the loop on the top of the centerpiece. You may have to use the pliers to open up the jump ring, then squeeze it closed again.

6 – Add the Second Finding (Toggle Clasp)

This was the hardest part for us so I will refer to this video: Click here for a free, quick video from Annie’s that shows how to do the beads and finish with the second finding.

Annie’s has a series of jewelry making videos that go in-depth into many different techniques and types of jewelry to make.



Cute and Simple Fall Hair Accessory / Hair Clip

Hair Accessory Supplies

In case you did not read the above section, we look for two things first when looking for looking for supplies for our project:

  1. What was on sale – the fall holiday decor was 40% off at Hobby Lobby (oh Hobby Lobby, how I hope you have an affiliate program soon!)
  2. What made us think of the season or theme we are currently working on – in this case, FALL!

We wanted a cute hair accessory that girls (and maybe even women) would want to wear. We went through all of the fall craft supplies and jumped when we saw these felt sunflowers. They were perfect!

We already have a small glue gun, glue sticks and felt.

The supply list then is:

  • Hair clips (we already had these, I had purchased them for a good price at Walmart)
  • Mini glue gun and glue sticks (again, already have, purchased at Walmart)
  • Fall felt Sunflowers
  • Orange felt (had on hand)

Click here to find glue guns and glue sticks on Amazon.

How To – Steps To Create The Hair Accessories

1 – Clear the Workspace

As with the jewelry making, we clear a large space on our table to start our work. Hopefully someday we will have a dedicated table / craft station!

Since this project uses hot glue, we do not put a cloth under the work, but instead use a sheet of cardboard. We put the glue gun on an old plate.

2 – Set Out the Components of the Project

We make a neat pile of the sunflowers, another pile of the hair clips, plug in the glue gun and have a backup glue stick ready. We then cut out the backing felt in a round or oval shape from a simple piece of felt.

3 – Construct the Hair Clips

dyi_fall_jewelry_accessories_3I will be honest, this is pretty simple.

  1. Add hot glue to the back of the sunflower (please be doing this with an adult).
  2. Open the hair clip and place the sunflower on top of the clip (or, you can leave the sunflower on its back, then open the clip upside down and hold it down on top of the sunflower).
  3. Place the felt under the top part of the clip so the glue attaches to it too (see picture above).
  4. Press (this is the hard part, to not get hot glue on you) and don’t close the clip until the glue is dry (otherwise it will adhere to the bottom of the hair clip).

We have learned the hard way that the felt is a MUST have. Hot glue does not hold permanently on surfaces like metal and plastic. But it will adhere for life (or close to it) on fabric, especially felt.

That is it! Let it dry for a few minutes and then you can put it in your hair.

BTW, if you aren’t sure you want to dive in and make either of these at this time, you could always purchase the finished product from our Etsy shop!


diy_fall_jewelry_accessories_fb