Good morning, and happy Sunday! Spencer turned 5 this week, I planned our Thanksgiving menu (details below), and we had an eventful few days with our laundry situation. Curious?! I’m sharing all of the highlights, along with our easy dinners, in today’s roundup of Our Week in Meals!
For those of you who are new to the blog, Our Week in Meals is where I share a little bit about what we’ve been up to over the past week — as it relates to our dinners each night. This series gives you a glimpse “behind the scenes” at some highlights from our life, shows you how I balance a busy schedule with feeding my family, and offers a few new ideas for your own weekly meal plan. Now let’s back up to last weekend…
Sunday got off to a bumpy start when I woke up to let the dog out at 5:00 a.m., threw in a load of laundry, and then returned inside to find the laundry room flooded with soapy water. Keith was out of town for the weekend, so I was very stressed trying to clean it all up...and then figure out what to do about all of our dirty clothes.
Fortunately, my friend Mollie saved the day by doing my wash while we were at her son's birthday party! That's true friendship. ????
Meanwhile, the boys were busy living their best life -- going on a pirate treasure hunt around the farm (including among the hay bales),
and eating cupcakes with mountains of frosting on top!
I made a Dump-and-Bake Chicken and Mushroom Casserole for supper, but I was really the only one who ate much of it since the kids were stuffed full of party food and Keith was gone. At least I enjoyed it!
My mom was kind enough to meet me in Charlottesville on Monday in order to pick up a couple of loads of my laundry. She knew that I would be panicking as the piles accumulated and we waited for a new washer and dryer, so she came to my rescue!
We spent the rest of the cool, gray afternoon outside taking advantage of the fresh air before the rain arrived.
Keith returned home from his trip that evening, so we all had an early dinner together: my Lightened-Up One Skillet Shrimp Alfredo with a side of steamed broccoli.
Teddy and I met Mollie (and her son Miles) for a walk in town on Tuesday morning. Teddy hasn't quite figured out how to walk on a leash, but Miles sure was giving it his best shot!????
My assistant helped me prepare two batches of brownies to take to his classmates for his birthday on Thursday. These are Spencer's favorite (and so easy for me)!
His primary job? Licking the spoon!
I prepared my Treasurer's Report for the PTO meeting at the boys' school that evening, but then opted to stay home instead! Our new washer and dryer were scheduled to arrive, and I was far more concerned with getting those installed and running again. I could only handle so many piles of dirty clothes, so the laundry was my top priority that night!
Since I was planning to be at my meeting, we just had a quick dinner from the freezer that I could easily throw together. We're loving these frozen fish fillets from Costco, which I paired with French fries for a meal of Fish n' Chips. I also added some carrot sticks on the side to ease the Mom Guilt and include a veggie on the plate.???? Everyone was happy!
I spent some time organizing our Thanksgiving menu on Wednesday morning, so I thought that I'd share the details here in case you're looking for a few ideas for your own feast.
We're hosting Keith's family on Thanksgiving, so we'll have his parents with us, along with his two brothers and their families. Each of Keith's brothers have 2 little boys, so there will be a total of 7 little Lonergan boys under the age of 9! I'm bracing myself for a day full of fun. So here's what we'll be serving...
- Garlic and Herb Turkey Breast + Gravy (I bought 3 turkey breasts instead of one huge whole turkey, since we prefer the white meat. Keith will cook the turkeys on the grill, since he enjoys that process and it frees up my oven for the sides!)
- Green Bean Casserole with Bacon
- Apple and Butternut Squash Casserole
- Southern Cornbread Stuffing
- 3-Ingredient Cranberry Orange Sauce
- 2-Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins
- Dreamy 6-Cup Ambrosia Salad
Best of all, everything that I'm making can be prepared at least 1 or 2 days in advance, with the exception of the turkey and the ambrosia (which I'll stir together an hour or two before serving). I will heat the 3 casserole side dishes in a 350-degree F oven before we're ready to eat. Low stress is the key!
More details regarding the table settings and the actual meal will follow next week!
When Spencer got off the bus that afternoon, we jumped in the car and headed to Charlottesville to meet my friend Kristin and her son Jonathan for a birthday lunch. Kristin and Spencer share a birthday, so we had fun celebrating the two of them at Spencer's favorite lunch spot: Qdoba!
Aunt Barbara also met us in town to drop off Spencer's gift, so this was one very happy child!
The birthday excitement continued that evening, when my parents came over for dinner. Spencer unwrapped even more gifts, I served Minestrone Soup and French bread for an early supper,
and my mom brought cupcakes for dessert! It's that time of year when there's cake everywhere I turn...and I'm not complaining.
Thursday was Spencer's actual birthday, and the boys woke up to quite a surprise: no school! We had a gross mix of ice, sleet and rain all day, so they got to stay home. Central Virginia does not deal well with nasty winter weather!
Teddy had no interest in going outdoors that day, but he sure was happy that the kids were home. He was in someone's lap (or fetching balls indoors) all day long!
Since we were housebound, I took advantage of time in the kitchen and prepared two batches of my 2-Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins.
I made mini muffins this time -- half of them for Spencer's Thanksgiving Feast at school next week, and the other half for our Thanksgiving dinner bread basket. The muffins freeze well, so I stashed them away and will not have to worry about them amidst the craziness of the holiday.
I let Spencer plan the dinner menu that evening, and (not surprisingly) he requested Chicken Fingers! He doesn't really like the store-bought frozen chicken fingers, so I ordered carryout from Giovanna's here in town. Simple pleasures!
For his birthday dessert, he asked for his favorite M&M Cookies. Everyone loves these and it seems like I make a batch every couple of weeks for one reason or another.
The sun came back out on Friday (hooray!), but the schools were on a 2-hour delay -- which meant that Spencer's half-day pre-K was cancelled. Instead, he was happy to spend the day outside playing with new birthday presents...
and waving to tractors driving by with hay bales!
I made Dump-and-Bake Aloha Chicken with Rice for dinner, which is just SO darn good. I've had a couple of readers ask me recently about preparing this recipe in the Instant Pot, so I gave that method a try on Friday evening. It worked okay, but the oven is still by far my preferred method!
While Keith and the boys took care of yard work and house chores on Saturday morning, I spent some time in the kitchen photographing a couple of recipes.
This little one "helped" rake leaves...
Our afternoon and evening was devoted to celebrating Spencer's birthday as a family. Instead of a birthday party this year, he just wanted to go to Bounce n' Play with his brothers,
followed by dinner at Texas Roadhouse. Easy and done!
Smothered Chicken with Mushrooms, Onions and Gravy + House Salad + Green Beans
And that's another recap done! I hope that you all have a wonderful holiday week ahead and enjoy some delicious Thanksgiving food with the ones you love!
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