Good morning, and happy Sunday! We celebrated my birthday this week, finished up the soccer season, and snuck away for a little family vacation. 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 was Halloween, but the kids did their trick-or-treating the night before, so we had a fairly quiet holiday.
I convinced (begged?) my four boys to put on some nice clothes that morning so that we could take some family photos in the yard. Nothing professional, just my own tripod and camera! Once that was finished, we headed up to Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park for a hike here in Madison.
This particular trail included a lot of rock scrambling...
We made it home in time to make a delicious fall supper: roasted chicken,
Plus an easy apple pie for dessert!!
The boys were not happy about going back to school on Monday morning after such a fun holiday weekend, but I appreciated the quiet house.
I walked to my neighbor's farm to pick up eggs, and then made a trip to Target to return a $15 item that arrived broken -- only to spend a lot more on early Christmas shopping. Doesn't that always seem to happen?! Checking off Santa's list in advance this year!
It rained all day long on Tuesday, so after voting in the morning, I stayed warm and dry working inside until it was time to pick up the kids. These beautiful fall flowers from the last farmer's market of the season brightened up my kitchen, though!
I also have another good book to share this week! The Push by Ashley Audrain is a page-turning mystery that crosses over into the thriller and suspense category. It's not scary, but it certainly kept me turning the pages in an attempt to figure out how the book would end. I love a novel that I can't put down, and this definitely exceeded my expectations!
The sun returned on Wednesday morning, so I met my friend Ashley for a walk before joining my parents and my aunt for lunch. The maple trees are finally turning...
They took me to The Copper Fish in Culpeper to celebrate my birthday a couple of days early. Three of us ordered the warm ham, brie, and apple baguette (feeling very French!), while Dad got the oyster po' boy. Plus Mom's caramel cupcakes for dessert. Delish!
I made a quick batch of cookie dough for a soccer team party the following day, before scooping up the boys from school later that afternoon.
Dinner was quick and easy: shrimp tacos using my Mexican Shrimp. I didn't bother to make the fresh tomato salad that's typically included in that recipe, since tomatoes are not in season at the moment. Instead, we paired the tacos with chips, salsa, guacamole, and steamed corn from the freezer.
Thursday was just a half day of school for the boys, so my morning flew by as I tried to get as much finished as possible...starting with a walk with Mollie and Sallie!
By the way, this pimento cheese and salted caramel popcorn that Mollie gave me is heavenly! The Asheville-based company has many, many other flavors that you can order. They would be a great stocking stuffer or hostess gift in the next month or two!
Gibbs had a friend come home with him from school that afternoon, so I baked a batch of our favorite soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies for the kids to enjoy for snack, plus extras for Spencer's soccer team party that night.
The kids ate pizza at the soccer party, and then Keith and I heated up bowls of leftover Split Pea Soup with bread for a later supper afterwards.
It was a frosty Friday morning!
I turned 42 that day, and started my birthday with a morning walk with a friend.
Keith took me to lunch at Jack's Shop Kitchen, where I ordered the sweet potato soup and the fried green tomato BLT. That sandwich was SO good!
As soon as we picked the kids up from school, we headed about 2 hours southwest to a teeny tiny little mountain town called Warm Springs, Virginia (not far from The Homestead Resort in Hot Springs).
Keith rented a beautiful old parsonage (shown below) for my birthday weekend, which was so perfect for our family. Cozy-yet-spacious, and located in a gorgeous area of Bath County.
The kids were starving by the time we arrived, so we ordered takeout from just about the only restaurant in town, The Tavern at The Inn at Warm Springs. This was the salmon, veggies, and mashed potatoes with a Caesar salad, which did the job for my birthday dinner!
On Saturday morning we drove over to nearby Lake Moomaw for a hike.
This was one of the best hikes we've ever done -- a good distance for our crew, nobody else in sight, a well-maintained trail, and a beautiful view at the top.
It was about 30 degrees, so of course I was wearing 4 layers...and the boys didn't even need their coats.🙄
We picked up sandwiches for lunch from the Milk House Market on the way home. Keith and I shared the chicken salad wrap with apples and cranberries, plus a ham and cheese sub.
I went to a nearby antique shop that afternoon, Keith and Gibbs went over to The Homestead and a brewery, and the younger boys played a lot of soccer at the house.
We picked up pizzas for an early supper, and spent the rest of the evening watching college football.
That's it for now, friends! We're headed back home today to return to our regular schedule of work and school in the days ahead. Have a wonderful Sunday, and thank you for joining me here!