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Good morning, and happy Sunday! What a week we’ve had — from a birthday celebration to a TV appearance, the flu and more — there were many ups and downs! All of the highlights, along with each of our dinners, are included in today’s roundup of Our Week in Meals.
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 with apple cider donuts, which my parents brought us from a local orchard. You can find my baked version here (equally delicious!).
It was an unexpectedly quiet day at the house, since Casey wasn’t feeling well and therefore couldn’t play in his soccer game. Instead, we took care of chores at home, watched football on TV, and just let everyone get some rest for the week ahead.
Keith was out of town that evening, so I decided on a fun, Halloween-themed supper for the boys: mummy hot dogs, along with bats and ghosts chips and some cut-up veggies.
For each mummy dog, cut one triangle of crescent roll dough into thin strips and wrap the strips around a hot dog. Place the wrapped hot dogs on an ungreased baking sheet, and bake in a 375°F oven for 11-15 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Use a toothpick to dot mustard eyes on each mummy before serving!
And then I set out all of the ingredients so that the kids could make their own “Ghosts in the Graveyard” pudding cups for dessert!
Let’s chat about books again! My favorite book from this week was one that a blog reader recommended: With Love from London by Sarah Jio (the alternate title for this book in other countries is The Bookshop on Primrose Hill). I loved this entertaining novel, which offered a bit of romance, a bit of mystery, and a bit of heartache. Here’s the quick summary from Amazon:
When a woman inherits her estranged mother’s bookstore in London’s Primrose Hill, she finds herself thrust into the pages of a new story—hers—filled with long-held family secrets, the possibility of new love, and, perhaps, the single greatest challenge of her life.
When Valentina Baker was only eleven years old, her mother, Eloise, unexpectedly fled to her native London, leaving Val and her father on their own in California. Now a librarian in her thirties, fresh out of a failed marriage and still at odds with her mother’s abandonment, Val feels disenchanted with her life.
In a bittersweet twist of fate, she receives word that Eloise has died, leaving Val the deed to her mother’s Primrose Hill apartment and the Book Garden, the storied bookshop she opened almost two decades prior. Though the news is devastating, Val jumps at the chance for a new beginning and jets across the Atlantic, hoping to learn who her mother truly was while mourning the relationship they never had.
As Val begins to piece together Eloise’s life in the U.K., she finds herself falling in love with the pastel-colored third-floor flat and the cozy, treasure-filled bookshop, soon realizing that her mother’s life was much more complicated than she ever imagined. When Val stumbles across a series of intriguing notes left in a beloved old novel, she sets out to locate the book’s mysterious former owner, though her efforts are challenged from the start, as is the Book Garden’s future. In order to save the store from financial ruin and preserve her mother’s legacy, she must rally its eccentric staff and journey deep into her mother’s secrets. With Love from London is a story about healing and loss, revealing the emotional, relatable truths about love, family, and forgiveness.
I also enjoyed In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren, which is a sweet holiday romance. Nothing life-changing, but a great way to get excited for the season to come!
And finally, Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke. This is the first in the series of Hannah Swensen murder mysteries, which were turned into the “Murder, She Baked” television series on the Hallmark Movie Channel. I didn’t realize that those shows were based on a book series until multiple blog readers recommended them to me. Thank you for the suggestions! These are fun, “sweet” reads with a mystery to solve, but they aren’t too gory or scary for bedtime.
Back to work and school on Monday morning!
While the day started off sunny, rain and clouds rolled in that afternoon, causing the local trick-or-treating event in town to be canceled and rescheduled for the following night. The kids were so bummed! Instead, we had a low-key evening at home, complete with pizza quesadillas for supper (the boys’ request) and a Caesar salad on the side.
Tuesday was a gorgeous warm, sunny, fall day, and I spent the bulk of it working at the house.
It was a day late, but the boys finally went trick-or-treating at the town’s trunk-or-treat event at the high school.
They had a blast, and came home with more than enough goodies!
My Wednesday morning got off to a very early start, as I drove about 90 minutes east into downtown Richmond to film a cooking segment for the CBS station’s Virginia This Morning show. The experience was very exciting, nerve-racking, and fun…and I was relieved when it was done!
Unfortunately, I had to leave my phone in the green room, so I don’t have any actual photos of me in the studio. Stay tuned, though! I’ll share a link to the segment when it’s posted on the station’s website. I made my grandmother’s one-pan homemade “hamburger helper” on set, and the host, Bill, seemed to love it — he finished the entire bowl.😉
While I was in Richmond, I got a call from the school nurse telling me that Gibbs wasn’t feeling well and needed to come home. Keith scooped him up right away, and I spent the rest of my afternoon playing nurse. Dinner looked like potato chip chicken strips, coleslaw, and French fries before the younger two boys had to leave the house to get to their soccer practices. What a day!
Thursday was a fun one, since it was largely devoted to celebrating my birthday (a couple of days early)! Mollie brought over some gifts in the morning, and joined me for a walk up the road…
…and then my aunt delivered flowers, lunch, and packages in the afternoon. She picked up the sandwiches from one of our favorite local shops, The Market at Tiger Fuel, (sounds funny, I know — gourmet sandwiches at a gas station). I had “The Keswick,” which is Kite’s country ham (from here in Madison!), along with Swiss, honey mustard, herb mayonnaise, lettuce, and tomato on a baguette. Perfection. In fact, I ate the other half before I thought to take this picture!
Casey was feeling really crummy again that afternoon, so I took him to the doctor where he tested positive for the flu and an ear infection. Needless to say, I kept dinner as simple as possible: 3-ingredient taco mac and cheese for supper, plus homemade guac, chips, and salsa on the side.
Both of the older boys were home sick on Friday, so I don’t have too much to report. I got outside for a short walk, jumped on a mid-day Zoom meeting, and otherwise spent the day taking care of my kiddos. It’s so stressful when they’re not feeling well, and this flu season has ravaged the local schools!
We had basic spaghetti with meat sauce (leftovers from the freezer) for supper, since I was in no state to cook, along with garlic bread and salad. The garlic bread was also stashed in the freezer, so I just had to pop it in the oven to bake. When life gets crazy, we resort back to the easy, go-to comfort meals.
Fortunately, everyone was feeling a bit better by Saturday morning. After a couple of days of not eating, Casey woke up hungry for a loaf of banana nut bread, so that’s what I made for breakfast!
Keith’s parents stopped by bearing gifts and cake for my birthday, and then I took Spencer to his soccer game in Charlottesville that afternoon while Keith and the older boys stayed home.
Casey was back to feeling really sick again that evening (the flu is NO joke!), so we kept my birthday dinner as simple as possible: takeout pizza from Giovanna’s,
followed by my mother-in-law’s white Texas sheet cake for dessert. I was just happy to get a night off from cooking!
And that’s all for now, friends! I hope that you’ve found some new meal ideas for your own table in the days ahead. Thank you for being here, and have a great Sunday!