Well, that's a wrap, folks! Our last week of summer vacation has officially come to an end as my two older boys get ready to head back to school this week!! While I loved all of our adventures this summer, I will be honest and say that I am DEFINITELY ready to return to a regular routine. Bring on the fall (and everything apple, pumpkin, and cinnamon)!
Before we jump too far ahead of ourselves, it's time for the weekly 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 meals 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…
We were spoiled by another beautiful, cool day on Sunday.
After some work at the house in the morning, we spent the afternoon at the pool. Doing our best to take advantage of our last few days of summer break!
For dinner that night we decided to have a cookout: hamburgers, salad, and grilled potatoes!
The potatoes were great, and they're one of our go-to sides when we're grilling a meal. Here's what we do: wash a potato, poke holes in it with a fork, and wrap it in a damp paper towel. For a big russet potato, microwave about 8 minutes (or until tender). For a sweet potato, you usually only need about 5 minutes in the microwave. Then slice the potato in half lengthwise, spread with butter, and season with garlic salt. Place the potato face-side down on the grill until charred and smokey! Repeat with as many russet or sweet potatoes as your family can eat!
Monday was kind of an odd day. It poured rain most of the day, and we didn't have anywhere that we needed to be. Instead of venturing out on errands, we stayed close to home and entertained ourselves with activities like giant train track building inside,
and jumping on the mini trampoline. When that got too rambunctious I just sent the kids outside to play in the rain!
The weather cleared in the afternoon so Gibbs had his first soccer practice of the season that evening. I had planned a quick and easy dinner that we could eat in stages, since I knew that I would have to feed the kids early. This is going to be a theme once school starts and we're juggling multiple sports practices each week.
On that particular night it was TACOS! I had my taco meat over lettuce and veggies in the form of taco salad, while the boys stuffed theirs with cheese and salsa in tortillas. Keeping everyone happy! I served the tacos with tortilla chips, salsa, and guacamole on the side.
Tuesday morning started really early! Keith was up at 3:45 a.m. to catch a flight to the West Coast for a business trip, and Spencer came downstairs at 5:04 a.m. ready to start his day. Let's just say that I consumed a few cups of coffee before 9:00!
My older two boys were excited to see Keith's mom arrive later that morning to pick them up for an overnight visit. That meant that Spencer and I were on our own for the rest of the day (and night)!
I needed to buy a birthday present and Spencer's school supplies at Target, so Spence was treated to a pretzel while he rode in the cart.
I also picked up this cereal, which was something I ate almost every single day in college. Now the kids love it too, but it's hard to find around here. They don't sell it at the regular grocery store, so I scooped it up when I had the chance. I took this photo to send to my friend Sallie, who's a Cracklin' Oat Bran lover as well!???? Hey, we're easy to please...
Spence came home with a new garbage truck, so I'd say that this was a successful outing as far as the three-year-old was concerned.
The weather was beautiful, so we spent the rest of the afternoon outside in the front yard making garbage out of paper and filling (and emptying) the truck over and over and over again. I swear, this entertained him for hours!
I spy ripe gala apples on the trees in our mini orchard! Many of them look like they've already been eaten by bugs, but I'm hoping we'll have at least a few left when we get around to picking them!
For dinner that evening I wanted to try a new recipe, and I knew that my pasta-loving child would be a happy taste-tester. We had this Dump-and-Bake 3-Cheese Baked Ziti, which turned out really well. That's right -- I figured out how to make a delicious baked ziti that doesn't even require boiling the noodles first! Everything cooks in one dish! I'll share this recipe in a few weeks, and I know that you'll love it!
Since it's much easier to shop for groceries with just one child (rather than 3), I put together a quick meal plan on Wednesday morning and then made a run to the store with Spencer.
I made this video to share in the Facebook group for my 5-Day Meal Planning Challenge that morning, and I thought that some of you might appreciate it as well. If you'd like to join the Challenge and learn my process, grab my templates and lists, and get new recipe inspiration for 15-minute dinners, you can start any time by signing up HERE. We finished the live 5-Day Challenge on Friday, and I absolutely LOVED connecting with hundreds and hundreds of you all! The enthusiasm and idea exchanging in our closed Facebook group was awesome, and I even received a bunch of new quick-prep recipes from my readers that I'll turn into blog posts soon. Sharing is caring, right?!
Carole brought the older two boys home after lunch, so they all played outside for a little while before she left.
It was another soccer night for Gibbs, so I fed everyone early. Since Keith was out of town, my friend Maggie's husband offered to take Gibbs to-and-from practice for me (MAJOR shout-out to Nick!). That way I could put the younger two boys to bed instead of dragging them to the soccer fields for a couple of hours past their bedtime. That was SUCH a huge help for me (and for the younger kids)!
We had a 5-Ingredient Almond-Crusted Tilapia that I was testing to share here on the blog. Holy smokes, it's a good one! We ate our fish with rice and steamed broccoli, and I will post the full recipe next month. The entire meal was ready from start to finish in 15 minutes. Can't beat that!
And the chocolate-glazed donuts that their grandmother brought for dessert!
We spent Thursday morning at home playing with the new Legos from their grandparents,
and then Hannah arrived at lunchtime to babysit so that I could go to my dentist appointment. I really don't like the dentist, but the peace and quiet was pretty nice!
The rest of our afternoon was spent at the Open House at the older boys' school -- meeting their teachers and dropping off supplies for the coming year -- and then swimming at the pool. The kids were starving on the way home from the pool at 4:30, so they convinced me to pick up some chicken nuggets for "appetizers" on the way home!
A couple of hours later, they were hungry AGAIN and joined me for our regularly-scheduled dinner: this Dump-and-Bake Chicken Noodle Casserole. I swear, swimming makes boys ravenous! The recipe was a hit, so I'll share it on the blog soon...
On Friday morning I dragged three very reluctant little boys to Costco, where we filled our cart to the brim with everything from new socks for the kids to fresh produce, salmon, bread and cookies from the bakery, paper products, and breakfast cereals. That store seriously sells everything.
We were all starving when we walked in the door at lunchtime, and this Asian Chicken Wrap that I picked up in the prepared foods section at Costco (plus a big juicy peach) hit the spot!
Keith made it home from his business trip on Friday afternoon, so we were all reunited for dinner! I served this oldie-but-goodie Quick & Easy Pizza Pot Pie (a huge hit with all of my boys, of course) and a Caesar salad.
And then it was the weekend again! Saturday was a mish-mash of household chores and getting organized for the school week. Keith and the boys had some super-competitive games of Battleship,
and everyone got back-to-school haircuts! The kids are NOT a fan of sitting the hairdresser's chair, but it certainly helps when she has views like this and a trampoline outside!
Keith grilled salmon for dinner that evening, which I served with some oven-roasted string beans, French bread from Costco's bakery, and sliced tomatoes from Mrs. Peachey's garden. Gibbs loves a good casserole, but THIS is one of Casey's absolute favorite meals. He licked the plate clean (and asked for seconds)!
And the perfect way to cap off the summer? S'mores by the fire pit!
But not just any s'mores: these were Reese's peanut butter cup s'mores at Keith's request. He saw the idea on Facebook and instantly added the ingredients to our shopping list!????They were good (obviously), but a little too rich. We each ate about 2 bites before the kids said that they would get sick if they ate any more. They preferred the plain toasted marshmallows instead!
Cheers to a wonderful season!
Have a great week ahead, and be sure to check back tomorrow for a fun, family-friendly dinner idea!