Good morning, and happy Sunday! I hope that you're enjoying a relaxing summer weekend! We're wrapping up our last week of summer vacation, which we jam-packed with last-minute fun, friends, back-to-school errands, and even a quick getaway. All of the highlights from the past few days, along with our easy dinners, are included 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…
I took the dog for a beautiful (and steamy) walk on Sunday morning, before the whole family jumped in the car to head to Charlottesville.
We had to run a couple of errands in town, so we met my in-law's for lunch at the kids' favorite Hibachi Grill & Buffet, too! Where else can you get stir-fry, pizza, Jell-O and General Tso's Chicken all at one meal?!?!????
All on one plate!
The kids and I stopped by the vet to pick up puppy meds, and then spent the rest of our Monday morning in Culpeper at the gym with friends. Plus the mandatory Dunkin Donuts stop on our way out of town!
Heath Bar Iced Coffee
We ate an early dinner at 5:00 p.m. before I had to take Spence to his football practice at 6. Our meal was inspired by a recipe that I saw in my latest issue of Real Simple magazine: Sweet Chili Salmon with Cucumber Salad and jasmine rice. Perfect light summer dish!
We were watching Gibbs's friend Will this week (since his mom is a teacher and had to return to work), so I had 4 boys instead of the usual 3!
While the kids played, my girlfriend came over for a walk on our property early Tuesday morning.
I then piled the boys in the car and we headed to the pool as soon as it opened. We needed to burn off some of that energy before lunch!
The kids had haircuts that afternoon, and then I dropped Casey off at his friend's house for a play date.
Fortunately, our hairdresser has a trampoline in her yard (and a beautiful view), so the four boys stayed busy while waiting for their turn in the chair!
On Wednesday, the boys and I met my mom and my aunt for lunch at Qdoba in Charlottesville.
Hiding under that lettuce is an adobo chicken and rice bowl with mango salsa, guacamole, tortilla strips and pico de gallo. YUM!
From there we hit up the trampoline park at Jump Cville for an hour of non-stop bouncing and dodge ball. A great (air conditioned) way to wear out the kids!
I had originally planned to serve fish tacos for supper, using the frozen breaded cod fillets that we love from Costco. Since we had Mexican food for lunch, though, I changed gears slightly and instead made Fish Sandwiches with a side of coleslaw, sliced garden tomatoes and potato chips.
Then we were back out to the football fields for two more hours of practices!
Thursday wasn't nearly as fun for the kids, since the day was totally devoted to Back-to-School orientations. First, we took Spencer to his Kindergarten Open House in the morning (this poor child was not happy about returning to school)...
On the way home, we picked up subs for lunch and then scooped Teddy up from the groomer.
Turkey Italiano on Cheese and Herb Bread
As soon as we were done eating, we made our way to the older boys' school in town so that Gibbs, Casey and Will could meet their teachers. Hauling all of the supplies!
I helped serve the teachers a meal at the school that afternoon and worked at the PTO booth until 5:00 p.m., so I knew that we would need a dinner that was ready to go when we walked in the door at the end of the day.
I prepped a big bowl of my Chicken and Tortellini Salad that morning, which I could leave "marinating" in the refrigerator until we needed it. With dinner rolls on the side, supper was served!
Friday morning was beautiful for an early dog walk up the road, but it sure heated up quickly.
I took the boys about 2 hours east to the Richmond Metro Zoo for the day, stopping halfway for snacks (of course)...
We arrived when it opened at 9:30, so the zoo was quiet and we avoided some of the worst heat.
The boys had fun feeding the camels and the giraffes, holding the budgies, riding the Safari Train, and scoping out the lions, tigers and baby cheetahs.
By the time everyone was tired and hungry, we jumped in the car and drove through the nearest drive-thru (McDonald's) for a late lunch of burgers, fries and a Southwest Chicken Salad.
Once home, I immediately took a shower. Let's be real -- nothing makes you feel dirtier than a zoo on a 93 degree day!????
Dinner that night was a recipe that I've been testing for awhile now: Dump-and-Bake Ground Beef Casserole with Rice, plus a side salad and garlic bread. I've finally nailed the recipe, so I'll share it on the blog soon. In the meantime, you can try this 5-Ingredient Dump-and-Bake Beefaroni or this Dump-and-Bake Italian Meatball and Rice Casserole if you want something similar.
Last weekend Keith and I decided that it would be fun to get away for a last-minute mini vacation before school starts, so we made reservations at The Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Virginia for the night. It's relatively close to our house, they had rooms available, and the weather forecast looked perfect!
Snacks on the way: an Iced Vanilla and Cinnamon Cappuccino with Cold Foam,
plus this donut from Duck Donuts that Keith and I shared (the best!!!).
We stopped at my parents' house to drop off Teddy on the way, who is climbing on tables and getting spoiled by his "grandparents" as we speak.
While Keith drove, I finished the last few chapters in my most recent book: Murder on Brittany Shores.
This is the second in a mystery series about a French investigator, which I'm really enjoying (the first book is called Death in Brittany). I'll definitely read the third book as soon as I can get my hands on it!
Here's a quick summary:
Ten miles off the coast of Brittany lie the fabled Glénan Islands. Boasting sparkling white sands and crystal-clear waters, they seem perfectly idyllic, until one day in May, three bodies wash up on shore. At first glance the deaths appear accidental, but as the identities of the victims come to light, Commissaire Dupin is pulled back into action for a case of what seems to be cold-blooded murder.
Once we arrived at the resort, our first priority was lunch.
It was 68 degrees (!!!), so we sat outside at Woody's Bar and Grill for burgers, pizza, and sandwiches. So nice to enjoy the fresh air without sweating in 100% humidity!
I had the Blackened Snapper Sandwich with local tomato and remoulade sauce, plus a side salad and iced tea. Delicious!
The boys spent the rest of the afternoon swimming at the Homestead's water park, which includes slides, a splash pad, hot tubs and the full size pool. I "supervised" with my feet in the water -- it was too cold for me to swim, but that breeze sure felt good on the pool deck.
After a round of putt-putt golf and a visit to the playground, we found ourselves back outside on the lawn for supper. It was too pretty to sit indoors!
I ordered the New York style brick oven pizza with Aged Virginia Ham, smoked cheddar, caramelized onion, Homestead honey and arugula, which also came with a Caesar salad. Hit the spot!
Finally, our night ended with arcade games for the boys and s'mores by the fire pit. The perfect way to finish off the summer!
We're heading back home this morning, with a brief stop to pick up the dog along the way. Thanks so much for joining me here today. I hope that you've found some new easy meal inspiration for your own week ahead!
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