Good morning, and happy Sunday! I’ve got a great giveaway for you in today’s post, so keep reading for those details!! You’ll notice that it was kind of a crazy week around here as we celebrated Thanksgiving, my dad’s birthday, Gibbs’s birthday, and my in-laws’ anniversary. My head is still spinning, and the Christmas prep is just getting started! All of the highlights, along with our easy dinners, are included in today’s roundup of Our Week in Meals!
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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 morning was beautiful weather for a walk at my friend’s farm.
On my way home, I swung by Sallie’s house to drop off some of Spencer’s old John Deere toys. Parting with the toys that all 3 of my kids have enjoyed is sentimental, difficult, and also very necessary. It’s just nice to know that the little tractors and other equipment will continue to be loved by another two-year-old!
Gibbs turned 10 this week, so he celebrated with friends a few days early on Sunday afternoon. Keith took four boys to the bowling alley and arcade for lunch and games, while I stayed home with the younger two. We had our own little lunch date for burgers and ice cream at the Tastee Freez!
And basketball officially started that evening, so I served an early supper before the older two boys headed out the door. We had Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup, which we paired with chips, salsa and guacamole on the side. One of our very favorite soup recipes (you can also make it on the stovetop or in the Instant Pot)!
The boys only had two days of school last week, so I had a lot to get done before they were officially on a break!
As soon as the kids climbed on the bus Monday morning, Keith and I took the dog for a walk up the road before we parted ways — he got to work, while I made a quick run over to Yoder’s Country Market for some Thanksgiving goodies.
It’s the best place to pick up cheeses and meats (like homemade sausage for our cornbread stuffing, as well as Kite’s local Virginia country ham and a roll of summer sausage for a cheese board), dried fruits and nuts, homemade sandwich buns for dinner that night, among other things that weren’t even on my list (as usual)!
Back home, I baked two boxes of this cornbread (to use in our Thanksgiving stuffing).
While the cornbread was in the oven, I multi-tasked and set our dining room table for Thursday’s dinner. I had already washed all of the dishes and utensils on Sunday evening, as well as ironed the napkins, so the actual process of setting everything out didn’t take too long.
Love these cute little turkey tea lights, too! I picked up a set of 6 on Amazon last week to add some additional festive candlelight to the table.
But really, the focal point of the table was the floral centerpiece! My friend’s husband has a business called Overnight Flowers, which is an online flower “shop” that offers handcrafted, hand-tied bouquets with free overnight shipping. With proper care, the flowers can last in great condition for weeks!
I picked this design called “Feast” for our holiday table, and they were such a fresh, natural, colorful addition to the celebration (plus, I didn’t have to do any work)! A festive bouquet from Overnight Flowers would also make a great centerpiece for your Christmas table, a lovely hostess gift if you’re visiting family, or a simple way to brighten up your home for the holiday season.
Overnight Flowers has offered to send one of my lucky readers a beautiful, fresh bouquet of your choice! To be entered to win the giveaway, simply leave a comment at the bottom of this post. I will select a winner at random this Saturday, December 7. Good luck!!! And if you don’t win, no worries — all of my readers get 20% off your flower purchase when you enter the code “BLAIR20” at checkout. Thanks for being here, friends!!!
Now, back to the rest of our Monday adventures…
Spencer had a well-check at the pediatrician in Charlottesville that morning, so I scooped him up from school around 10:00 so that we could get to town for his 11:00 appointment. It just happened to be my dad’s birthday that day, too, so Spence played hooky from school for the afternoon and instead we met my folks for a special lunch date at Burton’s Grill.
I had the Harvest Salad and the reuben sandwich with sweet potato fries — all delicious!
We made it home in time for me to bake two big trays of brownies for Gibbs to share with his classmates at school on Tuesday to celebrate his birthday.
We had Crock Pot Pulled Pork sandwiches for dinner that night, which I paired with creamed spinach and store-bought potato salad. I tried hard to keep the meal plan really simple this week, knowing that I’d be doing plenty of other baking and cooking in anticipation of the holiday and birthday fun.
Tuesday was off to a busy start! I met my friend at an early gym class, stopped by Dunkin’ on my way out of Culpeper for a Gingerbread Cappuccino (!!!), and then went by Gibbs’s school to deliver his birthday brownies.
Back home, the Thanksgiving prep continued with a batch of 2-Ingredient Pumpkin Mini Muffins (to include in the bread basket) and a pot of my grandmother’s Easy Sauerkraut recipe (also for Thursday’s meal). These are two items that can be prepared well in advance, so it was nice to check them off the list.
I joined Spencer and the rest of the kindergarteners at their Thanksgiving Feast for the afternoon, where I had the pleasure of serving graham crackers and pumpkin dip to some of the cutest pilgrims and Native Americans!
Dinner was another quick and easy option: 4-Ingredient Ground Beef Casserole served with side salads.
The kids didn’t have school on Wednesday, so they happily spent the morning playing outside in the rain while I got some more cooking done in the kitchen. On my Thanksgiving prep list for the day:
- Assemble the Green Bean Casserole (double recipe)
- Assemble the ingredients for the Cornbread Stuffing so that I could just stir it together on Thursday (double recipe)
- Prep the Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese ingredients
- Prep the ingredients to go in the turkey breasts
By the time I was ready for a break from the kitchen, the kids were getting antsy and hungry, so I let them choose a special lunch destination.
They opted for Chili’s in Culpeper, where we feasted on chips and salsa, burgers, chicken fingers, and a Southwest Shrimp Caesar Salad (for me).
Back home, I baked (yet another) batch of my favorite thick and chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, which I packaged as party favors to share with my family on Thursday.
And for dinner, I made an oldie-but-goodie: One Skillet Chicken Sausage Tortellini, which I paired with a simple salad on the side.
Thursday was the big day! Since I had taken care of most of the prep over the preceding days, there really wasn’t too much to handle at the last minute. We went for a hike that morning (with lightsabers), and then my parents, my aunt, and my uncle arrived after lunch.
I set out a small cheese board in the afternoon (sausage, cheddar, crackers, grapes, smoked almonds, dried apricots and Harvest Jam), as well as a cheddar snack mix from Yoder’s.
My mom entertained the kids with a gingerbread house, the guys watched football, and then it was time for supper.
Our menu this year included:
- Garlic and Herb Turkey Breasts (which Keith smoked on the grill)
- Southern Cornbread Stuffing
- My Grandmother’s Sauerkraut with Bacon
- Classic Green Bean Casserole
- Crock Pot Mac and Cheese
- Cranberry Sauce (that my mom brought)
- Apple and Butternut Squash Casserole (that my mom brought)
- Ambrosia (that my aunt brought)
- A bread basket with mini pumpkin muffins and dinner rolls
- Buttered corn (because Spencer requested it!)
Everything was delicious!
My mom and my aunt were in charge of dessert, so my mom made a pumpkin pie and Barbara made a cranberry apple crisp. Both, please!!!
After a year of ups and downs, I’m so incredibly thankful for my family — especially this amazing lady who has been through so much!!!❤️
Black Friday was the perfect day for Christmas tree shopping! We spent the morning packing up our fall decorations, and then headed over to Stonehearth Farm here in Madison to cut down this year’s tree.
The boys aren’t too worried about which tree we bring home. Instead, they’re most concerned with getting as many marshmallows as possible in their cups of hot chocolate…
Spencer and I baked a birthday cake for Gibbs (to enjoy the following day) — he requested chocolate cake with chocolate chunks and chocolate frosting…
…and then I recruited my three elves to help with Christmas decorations.
We just pulled out a bunch of leftovers from the fridge for dinner, which is always one of the best parts of a holiday. If we’re going to put that much effort into one meal, we might as well reap the benefits for a few days! My Friday night plate was basically a repeat from the night before, but this time followed by peppermint stick ice cream for dessert!
Gibbs officially turned 10 on Saturday, and he made sure that the whole house was up and ready to watch him open presents by 5:55 a.m.!😎
He also requested his favorite Lemon Bread for breakfast…
We then jumped in the car and made a little road trip up north to Alexandria for the day, where we celebrated Keith’s parents’ 50th wedding anniversary!
The whole family met at Ramparts Tavern for lunch: Keith’s parents, the three brothers and their wives, plus all 7 grandsons!
I had the crab cakes, which came with green beans and sweet potato fries. They were SO good!
We made it back home around dinnertime, so we picked up carryout for supper on the way home. Gibbs’s birthday dinner request was a Chicken Parmigiana Sub from Miranda’s Restaurant, which worked out well since I wasn’t home all day to cook!
And of course, chocolate birthday cake for dessert!
And that’s where I’ll leave it for today! It was a week full of family, friends, and over-the-top decadent, delicious food…and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanks to all of you for being here and for sharing in our lives. I hope that you’ve found a few new dinner ideas or sweet treats to try in your own kitchen this week, too!❤️