Good morning and happy Sunday! I hope that you are all staying healthy and safe during this unsettling time. We might not live in a bustling urban environment, but our lives in rural Central Virginia have definitely been impacted by the Coronavirus as well. We're doing our best to make safe choices and to keep up with the constantly-evolving situation. In the meantime, thank you for joining me here this morning for a few highlights from the past week -- including all of our easy dinners. I hope that this post offers a positive temporary escape from some of the heavier news that we're all processing at the moment.❤️
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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…
I met my girlfriend for a walk on Sunday morning, which felt especially early thanks to Daylight Savings. 😐 At least the sun was shining, it warmed up nicely, and I squeezed in a trip to the grocery store afterwards.
We later took the boys to get haircuts, followed by ice cream cones on a warm, sunny day.
Beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains!
Keith grilled pork chops for dinner that night (I'll share his perfectly easy recipe soon), which we paired with rice and green beans. Feels like spring is on the way!
I also managed to finish another great book! I've read quite a few of Kristin Hannah's other books, so I had high hopes for Magic Hour -- and it did not disappoint! After about the second chapter, I seriously could not put this one down. It made me sad at points, but it also made me cry happy tears at other times. Here's a quick summary from Amazon:
In the rugged Pacific Northwest lies the Olympic National Forest—nearly a million acres of impenetrable darkness and impossible beauty. From deep within this old growth forest, a six-year-old girl appears. Speechless and alone, she offers no clue as to her identity, no hint of her past.
Having retreated to her western Washington hometown after a scandal left her career in ruins, child psychiatrist Dr. Julia Cates is determined to free the extraordinary little girl she calls Alice from a prison of unimaginable fear and isolation. To reach her, Julia must discover the truth about Alice’s past—although doing so requires help from Julia’s estranged sister, a local police officer. The shocking facts of Alice’s life test the limits of Julia’s faith and strength, even as she struggles to make a home for Alice—and for herself.
We all had a hard time getting going on Monday morning (thanks to Daylight Savings), but it sure turned out to be another beautiful day! After the kids got off to school, I walked next door to my neighbor's farm to pick up our eggs for the week, and then headed south to visit my parents.
While Mom was finishing up at a pottery class, my dad and I took the dog for a walk (and spotted many signs of the changing seasons).
We had tomato soup for lunch, plus bagels with cream cheese and smoked salmon, cucumbers and tomatoes.
Keith was working late that night, so I made a really easy breakfast-for-dinner: Sausage Hash Brown Casserole with fresh fruit on the side. I had actually prepped the casserole on Sunday, so I just needed to reheat it on Monday evening. This is a great option for weekday breakfasts, too!
Tuesday morning was cloudy and rainy, so I met my friend at the gym for a strength class. I love trying the seasonal flavors at Dunkin (which just happens to be across the street from the gym), so I treated myself to the Irish Cream Iced Coffee before making my way back to Madison. Jet fuel to tackle my to-do list!
The rain eventually stopped, so I met my friend Ashley for an afternoon dog walk before the kids came home from school...and then we were off to the races again! We had a quick dinner at 5:00 before I had to rush off to my 6 p.m. PTO meeting and Keith had to take the older boys to their 7 p.m. basketball practice. On the menu: Easy Cheeseburger Pie and side salads!
Other than a few errands in town and a couple of dog walks, Wednesday was a day of work, work, work at home. That morning light was so pretty!
I tested recipes in the kitchen, wrote an upcoming blog post, and prepped dinner for later that evening.
Thursday was another quiet day at the house. Keith's company ordered all of its employees to stay at home for the foreseeable future (due to Coronavirus concerns), so the two of us worked side-by-side on our computers -- which was a nice change of pace. I may be singing a different tune in a few weeks, though!😂
Gibbs stayed after school for chorus, so there was a lot of running around that afternoon. I needed to pick him up, grab some fundraiser orders from the PTO, feed everyone dinner, and then get us back out of the house for basketball practice. Knowing that the dinner hour would be chaotic, I kept our meal really simple and just thawed leftover Irish Stew from the freezer. Served with a baguette on the side for dipping!
In an effort to stay healthy and minimize my exposure to public places, I changed my routine a bit on Friday morning. I dropped Teddy off at the groomer, but I skipped the gym (won't be back there for awhile) and ran my errands "remotely" in Culpeper. I placed my Target order on the app so that my purchases were delivered to my car and I didn't actually have to go in the store. I also took advantage of the drive-thru window at Panera to pick up bagels and lunch, as well as the drive-thru window at Starbucks for an Iced Cocoa Cloud Macchiato (it was tasty!).
Tuna Salad Sandwich on Cranberry Nut Bread plus a Caesar side salad
The rain cleared and it turned out to be a beautiful, warm sunny day, so I met my friend Ashley for a walk in the woods later that afternoon. Before I left, I snapped this photo of my sunscreen powder so that I would remember to mention it here (I figured that some of you might appreciate the tip).
I use my favorite sunscreen on my face every morning, but my dermatologist has been nagging me to re-apply the sunscreen on my face throughout the day. For so long, I couldn't figure out how to smear more cream on my face halfway through the day if I had already put on my makeup. Sprays seem to get in my eyes and make them sting, so this mineral powder SPF 45 sunscreen from Peter Thomas Roth has been the perfect solution. I just brush the translucent powder on my face before my afternoon walks and I'm good to go. Stock up for spring and summer!😎
The boys came home from school that afternoon with bags full of work, as we were notified late in the day that our governor closed all Virginia schools for at least 2 weeks. I'm glad that they're taking the necessary precautions, but life around here is about to get very interesting as I take on the "Home Schooling Mom" role.😳
Dinner that night was an oldie-but-goodie cozy comfort food meal (because sometimes that's just what the doctor ordered): Dump-and-Bake Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole, which I served with corn bread and salad. Beef stew and chicken casseroles just make everything better in the world, right?!
My Saturday started bright and early...at the grocery store. I needed to buy our regular food for the week, but when I realized that items were flying off the shelves, I decided to get there early and pick up what I could. Fortunately, between our local Food Lion and Yoder's Country Market, I was able to get just about everything on my list (with the exception of chicken breasts, which were nowhere to be found)! Meanwhile, Keith put the boys to work on our property...
The older boys were supposed to have their last All-Star basketball game of the season that day, but all sports have been cancelled for the time being. This news devastated Casey, but it's obviously for the best. Instead, we laid low at the house, the kids played Monopoly (among other things), and I took care of some "spring cleaning" indoors.
Dinner was a current family fave -- grilled scallops -- which we served with pesto pasta, salad, and a bread basket full of baguette and pumpkin bread (a random addition, but Spencer's request!).
We're looking at a very quiet week ahead, with no plans to leave the house. We'll be doing our best to stay healthy and prevent the spread of germs. Take care!💚