Family Grilling Party with Sears Grilling #GrillingisHappiness #SoFabU

Cucumber Salad 1

For the past six weeks I’ve been working through my SoFabU/Sears Grilling food photography course.

Sometimes it’s been difficult to make the assignments look the way I want them to.  Sometimes I wasn’t at all happy with the pictures I took.

And then, there were times where I was blown away by the progress I’d made.

The latter happened more often than not.  I feel my photography skills have grown by leaps and bounds, and can’t even begin to tell you how thankful I am to Sears and SoFabU for putting this together.

It was a phenomenal course and I am definitely a better blogger for having taken it.

Family Grilling Party

This week’s assignment involved putting all of the knowledge we’ve gained from the past few weeks to the test by hosting a home grilling party of some sort.

We happened to have family coming into town anyway, so this week was perfect for this.

Below are some of the pictures that made the cut this week.

My famous deviled eggs.  They’ll convert people.

The most delicious cucumber salad you’ll ever eat.  My father-in-law made it:  cucumbers, red peppers, tomatoes, green onions, a few slices of serrano peppers, white vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil.

Peel the cucumbers and then scrape the sides long ways with the tines of a fork.  Slice the cucumbers and chop the tomatoes, red bell pepper, and green onion and add it to a bowl.

For a small bit of heat, add a few slices of serrano pepper.

Mix in soy sauce, white vinegar, and sesame oil to taste.

One of the best pictures I’ve ever taken.  Ever.

Yummy steaks!

Meat cooking away!

Babydoll even hopped in to take a picture.

The final product: steak, deviled eggs, red rice, and cucumber salad.  We finished it off with some peach cobbler and a family movie night!

True Confessions:  I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Sears #CBias #GrillingIsHappiness. All photos and opinions are my own.

Sweet Critique: Reading Horizons

I, fortunately, began homeschooling after Babydoll had learned to read.

Of course, I helped her, and I went into her classroom each week and listened to all the students in the class read to me.

But, actually having the responsibility of teaching her?  I don’t know if I could have handled that.

Then again, I also didn’t know about programs like Reading Horizons.

Reading Horizons is a web-based program that utilizes a multi-sensory approach to teach the “42 sounds of the alphabet, five phonetic skills, and two decoding skills.”  It also makes use of the Orton-Gillingham approach, which utilizes all three types of learning: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.

While the program seemed intense to me at first, I actually came to love how much the program teaches.  Even though Babydoll has been an excellent reader for years now, she still learned quite a bit.

The core skills of phonetics and alphabet sounds are a great foundation for any reading program.

I enjoyed all the information and delivery of the opening video to the program, and it has an excellent user interface.  The program utilized a fun font, and I thoroughly enjoy that they describe the child’s dashboard with the reports and stats.

If you have a child who needs to learn to read, one who is a struggling reader, or just want to hone their skills even further, this is a great program to use.

Reading is one of those subjects so personal and different for each child, that it really can be hard to determine if something is right for your family before trying it.  Reading Horizons gives you a free trial so you can test-drive it.  How sweet is that?

You can visit the Reading Horizons site, linked above, or learn more about them on Facebook and Twitter.!

True Confessions:  I was provided with access to the Reading Horizons program in order to facilitate my review.  All opinions are my own.


August 8, 2012


August 6, 2012

Thank You

Back to School 2012!


Today we started our fourth year of homeschooling.

I’ve said it before:  I never thought I’d see this day.  I thought for certain that Babydoll would be going off to school by now.

I also didn’t think I’d enjoy homeschooling this much.  I can’t think of a better way to enjoy my child…

To kick things off, we made our back-to-school yeast doughnuts, complete with a “5th” for pictures.

I know this isn’t a “good” picture, but a} had I taken the time to get the lighting right and the focus and the plating-it would have been awesome {but we were too hungry…} and b} it’s still cool!

This is our third year doing the doughnuts as our kick-off breakfast {we were transient the first year}, and let me tell you, we’ve perfected these…

After we devoured our doughnuts, we went outside for first-day-of-school pictures!

We documented Babydoll’s fifth grade interests.

And she filled out her fifth grade back-to-school booklet.  It took me about two hours to make this thing, but it’s pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.  I totally heart KPM Doodles & her great artwork!

I wanted to show you what was inside the booklet too.  Each successive page was slightly longer than the one before it, so she had a nice little tiered booklet.

You can take a look at it below, but please keep in mind that due to the conversion into SlideShare, some of the spacing is slightly off and the markers on the cover are not displaying properly.

And finally, a look at my student over the past four years.

We’re so excited for this year to start!  Hope you have a great one too!