Good morning, and happy Sunday! First, I want to thank so many of you for the outpouring of support and prayers over the past few days. To say that we’ve been on an emotional roller coaster would be an understatement. My mom has been in the ICU at the University of Virginia Hospital for more than two weeks, fighting an infection from a rare tick-borne illness (along with related complications). Your love has provided an extra boost of comfort during the scariest time in my life, and our family is so appreciative. Mom has made significant progress, but has also been faced with some unexpected setbacks. Thank God she’s such a strong lady with so many folks praying for her — we’ve got a long road to recovery ahead! ❤️
With that background, let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming — the regular 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…
I started Sunday with some chores around the house and a cool, cloudy dog walk.
Late morning, I hopped in the car and headed south to Charlottesville to visit my mom in the hospital for the afternoon. On the way, I picked up Chipotle to share with my dad for lunch.
This was the steak bowl, plus tortilla chips and salsa on the side!
Meanwhile, Keith held down the fort and kept these three entertained! He’s been so good about trying to maintain the normal routine at home even though I’ve been gone each day.
While many friends and family have brought meals or have offered to do my grocery shopping (thank you!!!!), I’ve found over the past few days that I crave the routine and comfort of cooking in my own kitchen. It’s an escape that I enjoy, so while I don’t have the time to focus on anything elaborate, I’ve managed to pull together a handful of easy dinners over the past few days.
Keith was home on Sunday, so I put him in charge of the grill. We had Grilled Brats on hoagie rolls with sautéed onions, store-bought potato salad and steamed broccoli.
I also finished reading my latest book that night, which I really enjoyed. Small Fry is a memoir written by Lisa Brennan-Jobs, the daughter of Steve Jobs (co-founder of Apple). It largely focuses on her relationship with her father, which I found incredibly interesting. I didn’t know a lot about Steve Jobs before reading this book, so my jaw was on the ground in many parts. Talk about a complex man!
We dropped Gibbs off at camp on Monday morning, and when the rain stopped, Casey and Spencer joined me for a walk over to our neighbor’s house to pick up a dozen eggs from her chickens.
Since I was going to be at the hospital for the afternoon and evening, I prepped dinner for Keith and the boys early in the day. I made a batch of my mom’s Spaghetti Meat Sauce, and then left a salad, garlic breadsticks and pasta for Keith to heat up. Total comfort food (and I shared a jar of the extra sauce with my dad, as well)!
Meanwhile, I was at my mom’s bedside in the ICU when she opened her eyes and spoke for the first time in over a week. What a joy and a relief! Definitely one of the happiest days of my life.❤️
Since I was in the hospital room all evening, my dinner was a leftover turkey and cheese sub and potato chips that my aunt left for me from the Bellair Market. Fancy!😀
Tuesday morning started with a perfect make-ahead summer breakfast: Peach Cobbler Overnight Oatmeal. If you’re not familiar with overnight oats, you need to get on this train ASAP. So easy, healthy and delicious!
The sun was shining for the first time in days, so I took Teddy for a short walk after breakfast.
Then we were off to Orange to drop Gibbs at camp. It was a beautiful day for him to be outside on the farm!
Two of my mom’s friends came to stay with the younger boys so that I could go back down to Charlottesville to spend time at the hospital.
I brought lunch to share with my dad — ham and Swiss sandwiches, chips and an apple, which we ate together on a bench outside the hospital.
Keith worked late that night, so it was nice to come home to a meal that was already made! My mom’s friend Kathryn brought us hamburger patties (which I just grilled when we were ready to eat),
a corn casserole that was almost identical to this recipe,
and baked beans. A delicious combo!
Plus the chocolate bar that Kathryn brought me for dessert!
After dropping Gibbs off at camp on Wednesday morning, the younger boys and I headed to the rec center for a walk with my friend. It was nice to feel like I was returning to some “normal” activity and socializing for the first time in a couple of weeks, while the kids got to play in their own room!
On the way home we stopped at my neighbor’s farm to pick up four loaves of her warm, freshly-baked bread, a couple dozen scones, and these blueberries that she picked from her yard! I was happy to be able to share some of the baked goods with my dad and my aunt to enjoy for easy breakfasts.
Mid-afternoon I headed to the hospital to spend the rest of the day and evening with Mom. Treated myself to a decaf iced caramel cappuccino on the way!
While Keith and the boys went to Casey’s soccer team party for pizza and cupcakes, Mom and I feasted on these “Corner Cobb” bowls that I picked up from nearby Roots Natural Kitchen.
This was a combination of mixed greens and kale, wild rice, roasted sweet potatoes, charred corn, cucumbers, red onions, hard boiled egg, avocado, grilled chicken and Greek Feta dressing. Delicious!
And we finished our meals with these soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies that my friend Jackie brought over earlier in the day. I took one tray to the hospital and left the other tray at home. Cookies all around!
Spencer’s school teacher (who we all adore) came to stay with the boys on Thursday so that I could go visit my mom.
Jennifer spoiled the kids with all of Madison County’s best entertainment: feeding the animals at Yoder’s, ice cream cones at the Tastee Freez, and a ride on her husband’s tractor. They were in heaven!
While the kids were galavanting around town, I drove an hour south to Charlottesville to enjoy a “picnic lunch” with my parents in Mom’s hospital room. I packed tuna salad sandwiches, pretzels and apples. Not gourmet, but the company was great!
We had such a delicious summer supper that evening. I made my Dump-and-Bake Basil Chicken, adding plenty of fresh rosemary and thyme in addition to the basil. My herb garden is thriving with all of the rain we’ve had recently!
I also served pasta tossed in pesto sauce and a Southern Squash Casserole on the side.
I took a short walk with the dogs on Friday morning — wearing a fleece jacket because it was so cool! Not typical June weather in Central Virginia, but I’ll take it…
After camp drop-off, the younger boys and I headed to Yoder’s Country Market to pick up some lunch meat for the week, pimento cheese to share with my mom, and a couple cartons of berries. Casey picked out a giant watermelon for snack,
while Spence opted for a warm, fresh glazed donut!
Keith took over with the boys later that afternoon so that I could make my daily trip to Charlottesville for the evening.
The boys enjoyed Chinese takeout for dinner, while Mom and I had Roots bowls, plus pimento cheese and cheddar cheese with crackers.
This was a combo of kale, spinach, chicken, feta cheese, black beans, pickled onions, pita chips, roasted sweet potatoes, cucumbers and tomatoes in a lemon tahini dressing.
Followed by ice cream bars from the hospital cafeteria for dessert!
Mom had been doing so well all week, but on Saturday morning the doctors discovered significant internal bleeding (an ulcer probably resulting from all of the meds she’s been on), so we were faced with yet another setback.
Mid-morning, I packed up lunch for us to eat at the hospital (peanut butter, honey and banana sandwiches, plus pretzels and apples), and then I hit the road again to get to Charlottesville.
I left the ingredients for Keith to make my Grilled Chicken Caprese Sandwiches for dinner, so when I returned to the house around 8 p.m. (completely exhausted and emotionally drained), there was at least a tasty dinner waiting for me in the fridge!
So that’s where I’ll leave it for today. As you can see, it’s not been a “normal” week around here. While I’m desperate to be with my mom to comfort her and keep her company, I have also really struggled with leaving my kids and husband behind each day. I miss the boys, they miss me, and as Gibbs put it last night, “we just need two of you, Mom.” I wish I could clone myself, because I obviously want to be with Mom, but it’s also hard to miss out on my life at home. Here’s praying for more healing in the week ahead! Thank you for your support! ❤️
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