Good morning and happy Sunday! I'm checking in after another week at home -- welcoming the month of May, enjoying spring flowers, and looking for that light at the end of the tunnel. We've stayed busy at the house, thanks to plenty of good meals (and baking projects), outdoor adventures (in between rain showers) and more school assignments than the boys would like! 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.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
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.
First, a quick note that my latest article for Taste of Home is now live HERE. I hope you’ll check it out and give the Fish Taco Recipe a try soon! It’s so easy and so flavorful -- just in time for Cinco de Mayo.
Now, let's back up to last weekend...
Sunday was rainy and cool, so most of our day was spent indoors. Keith's big outing was a drive up to Culpeper to pick up carryout for lunch. We don't have any restaurant delivery in our county, so it's been ages since he could get a proper sub! I had this tuna salad sandwich, along with leftover Broccoli Salad and Baked Beans from the night before.
In spite of the weather, dinner was on the grill! I made Steak Fajitas, which we served with tortilla chips, salsa and guacamole. Stay tuned for my fajita recipe soon...
And just for fun, here's a behind-the-scenes look at my kitchen before I cleaned up the dinner dishes! Just being real...
Later that evening, Keith stepped out back and snapped this photo of a beautiful double rainbow that appeared when the rain stopped. Such a beautiful ending to the day!
Monday was cool and breezy, but at least it wasn't wet! I walked the dog in the morning, and then buckled down for another week of homeschooling the boys, cleaning the house, and feeding everyone!
The upside of so much rain recently is some very green, vibrant spring scenery!
I finished another book that afternoon -- My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl. This was a pretty quick read, since it's part cookbook, part memoir. Following the abrupt shut down of Gourmet magazine in the fall of 2009, Reichl, the former editor in chief, was suddenly faced with an uncertain future. The book follows the change of seasons—and Reichl’s emotions—as she slowly heals through the simple pleasures of cooking. I loved the photos, and now I can't wait to make her fried chicken and her gingered applesauce cake (just to name a few).
We had Shrimp and Grits for dinner that night,
which I paired with Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins (Spencer's request)...
...and Sauteed Spinach with Garlic. I've been making this quick 10-minute side dish a lot recently because spinach is one of the few vegetables available at the farmer's market right now. I finally got around to taking photos, so I'll share the full details in a post next week!
Tuesday was another cool, cloudy day, but the boys managed to entertain themselves regardless!
Gibbs baked us some cookies from a package of store-bought break-and-bake dough that I had in the refrigerator, but he was annoyed and told me that he was really hoping to make these Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies from scratch. Geez! Next time...
I made Baked Chicken Breast for dinner that night,
which I paired with Arkansas Green Beans (using up the last of the bacon from the package that I opened for the shrimp the night before),
and a box of this couscous.
Since it was warm and sunny for the first time all week on Wednesday, we tried to make a point to get outside and enjoy it.
I walked up the street and chatted with a friend on the phone after breakfast, and then took the boys over to the walk-up window at the Tastee-Freez for ice cream cones after lunch.
Plus a short hike in the woods! It felt good to get out of the house and do something "normal" again -- even though we didn't actually step foot inside a restaurant!
Anyone else still craving comfort food (in spite of the fact that warmer weather is on the horizon)? I just love the cozy smell of something roasting in the oven all afternoon, so for dinner that night I prepared a Dutch Oven Pot Roast. I ate my meat, potatoes and veggies on the plate, but the boys prefer their shredded beef served on toasted sandwich rolls with melted cheese (they call them "steak sandwiches"). 😀
On the side, I also served a simple green salad tossed with a cool and creamy Buttermilk dressing. I had a jug of buttermilk leftover from the biscuits that I made on Saturday, so the salad dressing and our favorite baked pancake squares were on the menu this week!
Not too much to report from Thursday! It rained almost all day, so the boys spent the morning getting their school work done, watching a Harry Potter movie and playing with Legos.
Gibbs had a Zoom call with his classmates that afternoon, and I took care of my daily cleaning. I've had a couple of you ask about my cleaning schedule, so I figured I could share it here in case any of you might find it helpful at the moment. Before all of this started, I was fortunate enough to have regular cleaning help from my friend Jackie. Over the past 7 weeks (and counting), I've been cleaning the house on my own so that Jackie can stay safely at home. It's been yet another item to add to my to-do list, but I've figured out a pretty efficient way to get it all done -- while keeping my house relatively clean with 5 of us home all day (no easy feat)!
Initially, I tried cleaning the whole house in one day. That proved to be way too time-consuming, overwhelming and exhausting. It would easily take me 6-8 hours to clean the entire house the way that I really want it done, which just isn't realistic given my other responsibilities with the kids and work.
Instead, I've found it much more manageable to do a little bit of cleaning each day, so that by the end of the week I've touched every part of the house at least once. This gives me a chance to focus on cleaning each area really well. So, each afternoon, I send the boys outside to play for an hour or two while I clean (that way they're not running across wet mopped floors or dropping crumbs from their snack while I'm trying to vacuum)! If they don't want to be outside (or if the weather is crummy), I give them cleaning jobs to do inside with me. They have become very good at wiping down baseboards, using the Magic Eraser to clean the kitchen cabinets, dust-busting and wiping down the steps, and even (occasionally) vacuuming or mopping. For those interested, here is the loose schedule that I've been following:
- Monday: Kitchen. This includes cabinets, countertops, stove, vacuum and mop.
- Tuesday: Downstairs. This includes dusting, polishing furniture, baseboards, vacuuming and mopping all of the rooms in the downstairs part of our house (except the kitchen and bathrooms).
- Wednesday: Vacuum. Just a quick vacuum of the whole house using my cordless vac. With the boys in and out, vacuuming is something that really needs to be done every day.
- Thursday: Upstairs. This includes changing all of the sheets on the beds, dusting and polishing furniture, vacuuming and mopping the floors for all of the bedrooms and hallways upstairs (except the bathroom).
- Friday: Vacuum. Just a quick vacuum of the whole house again.
- Saturday OR Sunday: Bathrooms. I save the bathrooms for one day on the weekend so that Keith can help.😀
- I wash the hand towels in the kitchen and bathrooms every day, the bath towels twice a week (on Mondays and Thursdays) and do a quick vacuum with the Dyson cordless vacuum each day. Plus, of course, the regular tidying of the kitchen, wiping down the counters, and putting away the toys. I also do at least 1-2 loads of laundry each day -- just to keep up!
Since our whole house is hardwood floors (with area rugs) and slate flooring in the laundry room and mudroom, the items that are essential for an easy cleaning routine include the lightweight and super-powerful Dyson cordless vac, the Swiffer Wet Jet mop and these reusable (washable) pads for the mop.
Two of the three loads of laundry that I did that day...
I made my One Skillet Egg Roll in a Bowl for dinner, which I paired with rice (to make it more filling for the boys) and frozen egg rolls. I had some ground pork in the freezer, so I used that instead of the ground turkey called for in the recipe. It's flexible!
Thankfully, the rain stopped on Friday morning -- just in time for me to head up the street for a quick walk after breakfast.
I always have time to stop and say hello to these guys, who come over to visit at the fence...
No trip to the grocery store this week (we're trying to push it off until next week), but I did make a brief stop at Yoder's Country Market that morning for a few staples. Look at all of those giant bags of flour! Folks are definitely doing a lot of baking these days (myself included)...
Of course, I brought home a box of the biggest, most delicious still-warm donuts to share with the kiddos. Cinnamon sugar and chocolate frosted are the flavors of choice!
When we walked down to the pond later that afternoon, the boys were so excited to find this teeny tiny baby turtle in the grass. I had never seen one so small -- just glad we didn't step on it!
Casey was concerned that the turtle wasn't very close to the pond (he was off in the taller weeds), so Casey gently put him near the edge of the water and we watched as the little guy swam away.
I made a childhood favorite for dinner that night: Cheesy Ground Beef Pasta (which my family calls "Chuckwagon Mac"). We paired the mac with a Caesar salad and crescent rolls. I showed you how I make this in my Instagram Stories (complete with the dog and kids making noises in the background), so if you enjoy seeing more real-time behind-the-scenes updates, you can follow me on Instagram here.
Look what arrived on Saturday! My friends at Overnight Flowers sent me this beautiful bouquet as an early Mother's Day gift, and I was just floored by the size and fullness of the colorful, cheerful flowers.
In case any of you are looking for some last-minute ideas, this is such a convenient, easy Mother's Day gift -- especially this year, when most of us aren't able to leave our houses to go shopping in stores or to visit with family. Overnight Flowers is an online flower “shop” that offers handcrafted, hand-tied bouquets with free overnight shipping.
The Mother's Day collection includes this "Make It Snappy" bouquet, as well as a variety of other gorgeous arrangements. Right now you can even get 20% off and free next day delivery with the code "MOM20." Such a perfect way to bring joy to a special lady's home right now!
The rest of our Saturday included plenty of outdoor time for Keith and the boys -- tending to yard work and smoking a big pork shoulder for dinner that night -- while I was baking up a storm in the kitchen.
...which I served with a basket of Aunt Bee's 3-Ingredient Buttermilk Biscuits,
and a Couscous Salad (I'll share my favorite recipe soon).
And that's all for now! I'm off to spend the day with my boys and drop off a birthday gift for a friend before we begin our final week of "home school" on Monday. I hope that you enjoy the rest of your Sunday, stay healthy, and treat yourself to some delicious food in the days ahead! Thanks for spending some time with me here this weekend. I appreciate all of you and your thoughtful comments so, so much! ❤️