Good morning, and happy Sunday! This week we celebrated Memorial Day, spent time at the pool, and embraced the start of summer break. All of the highlights, along with each of our 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...
The house spotted through the boxwoods on Sunday morning...
Casey had a soccer tournament up in Fredericksburg to finish off his season, so we were up and out of the house early that day.
Finally got to try the new cornbread donut from Dunkin' -- basically a combination of two of my favorite foods!
We made it home that afternoon in time to have a classic Memorial Day weekend cookout for dinner: grilled hamburgers and hotdogs,
Plus a red, white, and blue mixed berry cobbler for dessert (I used a combination of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries) with vanilla ice cream on top!
Monday was a holiday, and Keith spent the morning in the yard, while I took some recipe photos inside.
Ranunculus just might be my favorite...
We made it to the pool in the afternoon,
and had another cookout for dinner: grilled chicken thighs,
Memorial Day and summer vacation = popsicles on the front porch and towels drying on the clothesline!
On a 93°F Tuesday, the woods seemed like the best place to stay cool.
The boys wanted to go for a short hike in Shenandoah National Park here in Madison, where they could wade in the Rapidan river...
...and Casey could try out his new LifeStraw (a birthday request!).
Gibbs snapped this pic of Teddy on my phone while I was standing on a rock holding his leash. The dog looks like he's posing for the camera!
Baked a loaf of Morning Glory Farm zucchini bread for snack...
Wednesday's adventure included a short drive over the mountains to neighboring Page County, where my mom met us at Luray Caverns for some cave exploration.
Luray boasts the largest caverns in the eastern United States, and they are absolutely incredible. The kids also loved the toy museum and the antique car museum on site -- all of which we could "tour" at our own pace (ideal for my fast-moving boys).
Spence had a doctor's appointment in Orange on Thursday morning, I made a stop at Yoder's for buttermilk and a handful of other ingredients, and then we eventually made our way to the pool for a short swim before the storm clouds rolled in.
I served baked chicken tenders for supper, along with French fries and broccoli. A classic, kid-friendly meal!
We took the dog to the groomer on Friday morning,
and went for a walk up the street to enjoy the cooler temperature.
Spencer helped me bake our favorite one-bowl chocolate cake, and my aunt joined us for lunch to celebrate her upcoming birthday.
I read a couple more good books this week, too! First up: These High Green Hills by Jan Karon; the third book in Karon's Mitford Years series. I love her writing, which reminds me of Fannie Flagg's, and I appreciate the charming characters, the humor, the poignant lessons, and the uplifting, wholesome stories in these novels. Highly, highly recommend starting with the first book, At Home in Mitford.
Next up: The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller. This novel tackles some tough topics (like infidelity, rape, and death), so definitely avoid it if you don't want to read about those issues. In spite of the heavy subject matter, I also found the story to be moving and well-written. I always enjoy the recommendations from Reese's Book Club, and while this wasn't one of my favorites from her list, it was still worth the read! Here's the quick summary from Amazon:
It is a perfect August morning, and Elle, a fifty-year-old happily married mother of three, awakens at “The Paper Palace”—the family summer place which she has visited every summer of her life. But this morning is different: last night Elle and her oldest friend Jonas crept out the back door into the darkness and had sex with each other for the first time, all while their spouses chatted away inside.
Now, over the next twenty-four hours, Elle will have to decide between the life she has made with her genuinely beloved husband, Peter, and the life she always imagined she would have had with her childhood love, Jonas, if a tragic event hadn’t forever changed the course of their lives. As Heller colors in the experiences that have led Elle to this day, we arrive at her ultimate decision with all its complexity. Tender yet devastating, The Paper Palace considers the tensions between desire and dignity, the legacies of abuse, and the crimes and misdemeanors of families.
Dinner that night was Spencer's request: shrimp fried rice -- because he tried the fried rice in the school cafeteria this year and decided that he loved it. Hah!
I paired the fried rice with a side of egg rolls (store-bought from the frozen section), as well as a ramen noodle salad.
Then it was Saturday! The week seemed to fly by with Monday's holiday, and I've realized (once again) that I need to significantly adjust my work schedule now that the boys are home for summer break.
Whether I like it or not, the weekends seem to be a good opportunity to get things done, now that soccer games are over. On Saturday morning, Keith took the boys into Charlottesville for donuts and a couple of errands, while I stayed home to work. I also managed to squeeze in a walk with my neighbor!
That afternoon we went to Casey's end-of-the-season soccer team party at his coach's farm.
We had a shrimp boil and fried chicken for supper, plus potluck-style sides like baked beans and mac and cheese...and plenty of desserts.
The kids requested requested a tray of chocolate chip cookies and brownies, so that was our contribution. Everything was delicious, and it was really fun to spend time with these friends off of the fields!
That's where I'll leave it for today, friends. I hope that you've found some new meal inspiration for your own table in the days ahead. Thank you for being here, and have a wonderful week!