Thursday, May 31, 2012

Good Eats

I always enjoy it when other bloggers log what they fed their families, so much to the amusement of my husband, I took pictures of our suppers this week. Suddenly I'm feeling very vulnerable! Please remember that this is totally random--some weeks are better, some are worse--and this is what works for our family. We try to eat healthfully while sticking to our grocery budget, exposing our boys to lots of veggies all while keeping it realistic for this busy momma to get meals on the table at a decent hour. 

Enough disclosures! Here is the run-down of this week's suppers:

Friday: vegan mac & cheese-like sauce (recipe here) with fresh steamed asparagus from our friend's garden. And a tablecloth!

Saturday: Avocado sandwich and ...   

... healthier strawberry shortcake. I might just be posting this recipe soon as our strawberries are ripe! 

Sunday: Spaghetti with tomato sauce and peas.

Monday (Memorial Day): Grilled veggie sandwich (I use my pannini grill to cook the veggies with no oil and just a touch of salt), potato salad and green salad with toppings.
 Tuesday: Red Robin veggie burger with steak fries. Yum!

Wednesday: Do you ever have one of those days that you need to use up what's in the fridge so you make up a meal? Polenta (corn meal) with beans and veggieburger sauteed with onions and peppers, salsa, ranch dressing and lettuce salad.

Thursday: Sam's Club take-and-bake cheese pizza with a huge salad to make up for it!

So there you have it! What did you feed your family this week? Did you try any new recipes? Would you like any of mine? Let me know!

I linked up here! 

feed my family friday

 Weekend Bloggy Reading


When we bought our house almost four years ago, we had every intention that it would be our forever home. Our dream was to raise our kids (we only had one then!) in the country where they could run free and learn about nature and how to work hard and play harder. We didn't see the dingy, filthy, neglected house with no insulation and broken windows, but the cozy home we knew we could make it.

Source: via Anna on Pinterest

At the same time, my husband and I are both subject to bouts of wanderlust. What if we lived here? What if we went there? I wonder what it would be like if... We are both known to randomly pick a town or state and start checking real estate and career opportunities! Just for fun.

My husband specifically, has had one dream since he was in college and I like to think of myself as his muse. Fulfilling that dream requires selling our home, quitting his job--our only income source, moving across the country (perhaps several times), leaving the known, the comfortable, the dependable, predictable reality we've made for ourselves... The reality is intimidating! This plan isn't the 'responsible' thing to do, that's for sure!

Source: via Sara on Pinterest

But we've talked about this on and off for a year or two, done plenty of thinking and praying about it and are convinced that this is God's plan for us right now.

We put our house on the market this month and my husband enrolled in classes that start in August. We are really excited about the possibilities and so curious as to where we'll be a year from now!

You know, between sessions of freaking out.

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we begin this new phase of our journey!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

How To Make a Cover Collage Using PicMonkey

You know those long, narrow pictures behind your profile shot in Facebook? I find it difficult to get a picture that isn't too busy or distracting and that fits the shape of that 'cover collage'. Do you have that problem too?

Since the demise of the free online photo-editing site, Picnik, I've been using PicMonkey.  I find it easy to use for editing photos, adding my watermark and other effects and labels like my laundry soap directions you saw last week. 

One function I missed, however, was being able to make a collage. But guess what?! It's up and running on PicMonkey now! 

Ok, here are the step-by-step instructions on how to make a Facebook cover collage using PicMonkey. Ready? 

Go to (pictured above) and select 'create a collage'.
From the three gray icons on the left of the menu, select the 'layout' button in the middle.

A new menu of layout suggestions is visible now. Select 'FB Cover' about half way down the list.

Now you can choose which format you want to start your collage with. (I find that this doesn't matter much because it's super-easy to change after you start filling in the photos.)

From the three gray icons on the left, select the top one to upload your images. There will be a selection of stock images if you want to experiment, or select 'upload images' (circled in yellow).

Follow the prompts to find your images from your computer.

Begin to fill in the squares! Images can be moved from different squares and the squares can be resized, added, deleted until you're happy with the layout.

From the three gray icons on the left, select the bottom one to make changes to the background of your collage (circled in red).

I narrowed the spaces between images, rounded the corners, and selected 'transparent background' in my sample image.

Now you're ready to save your collage! Select 'save' from the menu above your collage. I was worried about the file being a png instead of a jpg, but you can't change it, so just do it! 

After you save your collage, select the 'X' at the top right to go back to the main PicMonkey page. 

Now you can select 'edit a photo' and upload (or drag and drop) your collage png from where you saved it on your computer.

If you would like, you can crop, resize, change the exposure and many other things from this menu. For our purposes, let's select the 'P' from the left hand menu. This is where you would add a watermark or other text.


Type your desired text into the box and select which font to use. You can change the size and color of your text with the box that pops up, as long as the text is selected. 

When you're happy with your image, save it! This time the 'save' button is on the bottom left of the page. (Not circled, but it was selected and there's a handy blue pop-up down there to show you what it should look like!)

You can choose if you want your image saved to your computer or to Facebook! If you choose to save it to Facebook, you can give it a caption and it will save it to a 'PicMonkey' album.

Whichever way you choose to save your collage, you can log into your Facebook account, go to your profile page and select 'change cover' (circled in red).

Follow the prompts and enjoy your new Facebook Cover Collage!

I used a different collage than the one we just made together, but the principle is the same. I made another collage for my personal Facebook page and used a slightly different collage as my blog header--did you notice? 

So there you have it! I hope you are able to use PicMonkey to edit, add watermarks or make collages in the future. And I hope all of the options I'm getting used to using stay free!

Have a great day! Oh, and come like Beauty 4 Ashes on Facebook!

My Great Web page

Homespun Happenings 
 Weekend Bloggy Reading

Monday, May 28, 2012

Inspiration Files: Americana

In honor of Memorial Day, I spent some time collecting some inspiration from Pinterest. (Follow me!) It was a difficult cross to bear, but someone has to do it! So here is your source for patriotic inspiration--from living spaces to red-white-blue parties to craft ideas to what to wear for yourself and your family. 

Source: via Ellie on Pinterest

Source: via Ellie on Pinterest

Source: via Ellie on Pinterest

Source: via Ellie on Pinterest

Source: via Ellie on Pinterest

Source: via Ellie on Pinterest

Source: via Ellie on Pinterest

Source: via Ellie on Pinterest

Source: via Ellie on Pinterest

Source: via Ellie on Pinterest

Source: via Ellie on Pinterest

Source: via Ellie on Pinterest

Source: via Ellie on Pinterest

Source: via Ellie on Pinterest

Source: via Ellie on Pinterest

Source: via Ellie on Pinterest

Source: via Ellie on Pinterest

Hope you are inspired this Memorial Day!


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