Good morning and happy Sunday! We're finishing up another week of homeschooling the boys, working from home, and staying safely quarantined. It's been a big adjustment for each of us (as I'm sure you can relate), but we're making it work! 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!
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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 started bright and early with an Easy French Toast Casserole! I had some stale leftover Italian bread on the counter the night before, so I cut it into thick slices, toasted it, and assembled a smaller dish (using half of the recipe). It chilled in the refrigerator overnight, so in the morning I just needed to pop it in the oven. Served with bacon and fresh strawberries!
I spent the rest of the morning testing recipes in the kitchen, while Keith and the boys did work outside.
Once we all finished lunch, we were ready for a walk and fresh air.
We had Grilled Honey Lime Shrimp for dinner that night, since frozen shrimp were one of the few available proteins at our grocery store last week. Paired with rice and salad for a light, fresh meal!
Mom's "home school" was back in session on Monday morning...and it looks like this will be our new routine for the foreseeable future. The Governor of Virginia announced that kids will not be returning to schools for the remainder of the academic year, so I suppose we're in it for the long haul.🤪
Highlights from our day included short dog walks in between rain showers,
art projects and map-drawing on poster board (Spencer was only engaged with this for about 10 minutes, so don't be too impressed),
and some "home economics" -- i.e., Gibbs found this recipe for Chocolate Pretzel Breakaways on the back of the graham cracker box and decided that he needed to make them. The sweet-and-salty treats were a huge hit with my crew, so the boys made another batch on Friday. Fortunately, they only take about 10 minutes and there's no baking required. He picked an easy one!
I served Chicken Florentine for dinner that night, which I paired with pasta and marinara sauce. Tip: for the picky eaters in your house, leave a couple of the chicken breasts plain (without the creamy spinach sauce). Everyone wins...
We also had a salad of mixed greens tossed with Lemon Vinaigrette. When you don't have a fully-stocked vegetable drawer, simple is best! The dressing comes together in about 5 minutes with just a few pantry staples, too.
We stayed busy at home on Tuesday with some basketball for "P.E. class,"
plus a walk to my neighbor's farm next door for our weekly eggs.
A wind chime kit seemed like a good spring activity, and painting the terra cotta pots entertained them for a few minutes. My boys' attention spans with art projects is limited, at best!😂
Casey's teacher organized a Zoom video call for her third graders that afternoon so that they could all connect online. Such a fun idea! Since the other boys were missing their buddies as well, they each had "virtual play dates" with their friends for a little while that afternoon on FaceTime. So grateful for technology right now!
The kids had been asking for hamburgers for dinner, so Keith grilled burgers that evening, which I served with tater tots and a B.L.T. Pasta Salad.
I finished another book that evening, too! My mother-in-law loaned me The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell, which was such a wonderful story. Highly recommend! Here's a quick summary from Amazon:
Sam Hill always saw the world through different eyes. Born with red pupils, he was called “Devil Boy” or Sam “Hell” by his classmates; “God’s will” is what his mother called his ocular albinism. Her words were of little comfort, but Sam persevered, buoyed by his mother’s devout faith, his father’s practical wisdom, and his two other misfit friends...
...Now, as he looks back on his life, Sam embarks on a journey that will take him halfway around the world. This time, his eyes are wide open—bringing into clear view what changed him, defined him, and made him so afraid, until he can finally see what truly matters.
It rained almost all day on Wednesday, so we busied ourselves inside with school work and cookie baking!
We made a batch of our favorite Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies, which tend to disappear fast around here.
Since we're eating out of our pantry, I served everyone grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch. Perfect rainy day meal!
We got outside for a quick, misty afternoon walk...
...and the blossoms were blowing off of the trees like snow!
And for dessert -- another treat straight from our pantry!
I found a box of Angel Food Cake mix that was almost expired, so I baked the cake and topped it with Cool Whip, chocolate syrup and strawberries that we already had in the fridge. A favorite from my childhood...
After a couple of days of cereal for breakfast, I was glad to have a stash of my favorite Bran Muffins in the freezer on Thursday morning. Just pull one out, microwave it for about 25 seconds, and a warm, homemade muffin is ready to eat! I paired the muffin with a couple of cheesy scrambled eggs and the last of the strawberries for a delicious breakfast in about 5 minutes.
That breakfast was fuel to power me through a morning at the grocery store! We've only been shopping for food once a week (so that we can stay home as much as possible)...which means that I needed a TON of stuff to get our family of 5 through the next 7 days. Preparing three meals a day for everyone equals a lot of food!
The rest of our day was spent on school work and plenty of outdoor shenanigans...
I made simple ground beef tacos for dinner that night, which we paired with tortilla chips, salsa, guacamole and Mexican-style beans.
We were treated to the most beautiful spring weather on Friday morning. I couldn't help but think how odd it is that we can experience so much turmoil and sadness, while at the same time Mother Nature continues to blossom and shine.
I've been making a point to get dressed each morning -- usually in bright, cheerful colors -- even if I don't leave the house. That day I sported my sunny spring sneakers, which automatically put me in a good mood every time I look down!💛
"Mom's Home School" let out early on Friday, so instead of doing more work in the afternoon, the boys and I took a walk near our house to "hunt" for Pokemon using the Pokemon Go app on my phone. They love it!
My neighbor must have seen us walk by, so she left the boys this chocolate bunny "surprise snack" to find on the side of the road when we were returning home. So thoughtful -- even during quarantine!
I took advantage of leftovers from the freezer for dinner that night. We had the Root Beer Barbecue Chicken that I made last week, but this time we stuffed it into baked potatoes. I just cut the potatoes open after they were cooked, piled the warm chicken on top, and then sprinkled with cheese. Popped them back under the broiler for a few minutes, just so that the cheese could melt.
On the side, we had a Creamy Cucumber Salad and some corn.
I picked up our first order from the Farmer's Market on Saturday morning! Since we're not allowed to have a traditional market at the moment, the vendors organized a website where we can place orders online, pay online, and then just drive-through at the market where they put our bags in the car. Such a great idea, and I was so happy to be able to support the local farmers this way. Vegetables aren't available yet, but I got apples, pork, beef, and various breads and rolls. We're set for the week ahead!
Back home, we spent the rest of the morning cleaning the house. I put the boys to work scrubbing the cabinets with Magic Erasers, wiping down baseboards, vacuuming, and mopping.
Another afternoon walk...
Keith grilled a pork tenderloin from the Farmer's Market for dinner that night, which I served with Southern Potato Salad and a green salad.
That's where I'll leave it for the week! I hope that you're staying healthy and safe, and that you can enjoy plenty of comforting, home-cooked meals in the days ahead. Thank you for joining me here!