The Little Things Newsletter #312 – Life, laughter, and lots of great food!


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Welcome to the weekend, my friends! We are celebrating this weekend as my oldest son is graduating from high school. (I’m not even going to deny that I’m cheering just as hard for us as parents as I am for our graduate.)

When we started this homeschool thing so many years ago, we figured we’d do it for a year or two and see how it goes. Ha – little did we know that we’d be schooling for the next 13+ years, and I wouldn’t change that for anything. More than anything else, it’s been a gift having the boys home with us and I’m so very excited for him to start college in the fall.

ON THE BLOG this week: Fluffy, creamy eggs layered with an abundance of bacon, cream cheese, and jalapenos add up to the Jalapeno Popper Casserole of which dreams are made. Served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, this is a meal my whole family loves.

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Fresh green beans, ginger, and garlic are quickly sauteed with tender strips of beef before being tossed in a light savory sauce to create this easy Beef and Green Bean Stir Fry.

Stir-fries are one of the easiest and most popular ways that I get dinner on the table. Tender strips of chicken, and hot, crisp vegetables are combined with an Asian-inspired sauce in this Ginger Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry.

Crisp lettuce, sweet mango slices, and sharp red onions combine to make this a deliciously simple Mango Summer Salad. With a light and slightly spicy dressing, this salad was a hit with my family.

Banana Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing is a super moist banana cake filled with pecans and then drizzled with a creamy cinnamon cream cheese icing.

What I’m CRAVING: All the spicy foods! I stumbled on the Chili Pepper Madness website yesterday and I’m in awe of how much knowledge is here. I’ve never seen such a clear and well-organized index of all chili peppers and the recipes sound fantastic too. My hot sauce-loving oldest son is already talking about trying his hand at more homemade hot sauces this summer.

What I’m WATCHING: Old Enough. Oh my goodness, I don’t know when a show last caught my attention this way. In the best description ever, “Adult life is boring. Watch toddlers run errands on Netflix instead.”

This is a long-running (30+ years now) Japanese reality show and Netflix recently picked up one season. The episodes are just 12-15 minutes long and we watched the whole season in a couple of nights. It was so much fun to watch. It is amazing to see these little kids (2-5 years old) running errands all over Japan. I’m in awe of how well they handle the challenges that they encounter.

If you’ve seen the show already, which episode is your favorite?? I could watch episode 8 over and over, followed by episode 11. (and yes, I remember the episodes that well.)

What I’m READING: Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala. My friend Gaby recommended this book and while it isn’t a long book, it took me a while to get through it. This is not an easy read, friends.

On the morning of December 26, 2004, on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, Sonali Deraniyagala lost her parents, her husband, and her two young sons in the tsunami she miraculously survived. This book is Sonali’s memoir and the story of her journey to healing. It’s heartbreaking and certain to make you cry, but it’s also one that I’m glad I read.

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:4 ESV

Wishing you a beautiful week full of little things that make you smile!


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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Vicki Skonieczny says

    Aaahhh…..Mary…..I feel like we are kindred spirits lately. Our daughter-in-law Mai is half Japanese and I just asked her if she’d ever watched Old Enough when she was a child. She said yes and that she went on her first grocery shopping trip when she was 3. Small world, isn’t it?!? Be Well.

    • Mary Younkin says

      That is so cool! I am simply fascinated by the idea of the little kids running errands. It’s so very different! I love that your daughter in law did that.