Oh, whoa! What a week we've had! Between Hurricane Irma blowing through my brother's town in Florida, an emergency surgery for my mom, and a water well at our house that stopped working, it's been stressful...to say the least. BUT, we're on the upside of it all and everyone is doing well! There is power in prayer, and I'm choosing to focus on the positive right now! Shall we get right to the Sunday 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…
I spent Sunday morning in the kitchen while Keith mowed the grass, and then we all headed to the soccer fields after lunch for Gibbs's first game of the season.
Such a fun time!
Football season is officially in full swing, so Keith watched the Redskins play later that afternoon and we had "tailgate" food for dinner. I served these 3-Ingredient Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Bites (BIG HIT!), as well as Creamed Spinach Casserole and 3-Ingredient Crispy Seasoned Red Potatoes from my neighbor's farm.
I will share the recipe for the chicken bites and this delicious side dish soon!
While Keith watched Sunday night football in the background, I cozied up on the couch to finish up this book that I just LOVED and have to share with you: A Gentleman in Moscow. I mentioned it on the blog a few weeks ago when my mom gave it to me, but now that I've actually read the book I can honestly say that it was SO GOOD. It started off a bit slow for me, but once I was sucked into the story I just devoured this novel. It's well written, it's incredibly smart, and it's so heartwarming. Highly recommend this one if you're looking for a good read!
On Monday morning, I talked to my mother-in-law on the phone while I took a walk in Orange after dropping Spencer off at school. The weather was perfect and it was great to get some fresh air. Back home, I typed up a blog post, did some laundry, and made lunch before heading back to town to pick the little one up at noon.
While Spencer ate his snack in the kitchen later that afternoon, I quickly browned the ground beef, onion, and garlic that I would need for Tuesday night's chili dinner. I wanted to be able to throw everything in the Crock Pot on Tuesday morning, so getting this step out of the way when I had a few minutes of spare time made the next day's process much faster.
Both of the older boys had soccer practices that evening, so we kept dinner really simple. I served my Sausage and Veggie Pasta Bake, which my kids LOVE. It's one of the recipes that I sent to this week's Simply Mailed subscribers, and I had actually prepped this particular meal in advance. Can't beat easy freezer meals for busy nights!
I was up early on Tuesday morning, so I put a big batch of Slow Cooker Beef Chili in my Crock Pot and let it simmer while we got organized for the day. After dropping the older two boys off at school, Spencer and I packed up some of the chili and cornbread and headed south to visit my parents at their house in the mountains.
Mom and Dad had just returned early from a vacation at the Vineyard, so we wanted to check in with them, see how my mom was feeling, and deliver some fooooood!
We brought the chili dinner, along with subs for lunch.
I tried the seasonal special: an Autumn Carved Turkey Sub with cheddar and cranberry mustard sauce. YUM!
While Spence played at the house with my mom,
my dad joined me for a quick stop at my favorite antique store. I came home with a plate, a small pitcher, and a cast iron tray to fill with pumpkins and gourds as a centerpiece on my dining room table. Shopping success!
Meanwhile, Tiller slept through most of the excitement.????
We came back home in time to pick up the older boys from school, and I was happy that I didn't have to fuss with supper. Casey's FAVORITE dinner is this Slow Cooker Beef Chili, and he asks me to make it almost every week. Since Tuesday was a cool and rainy day, I was happy to oblige. Served with cornbread on the side!
I squeezed a walk in with Mollie on Wednesday morning while Spencer was at school, and then came home and ate a quick lunch of leftover chili before heading back to pick him up at noon. Does anyone else already have giant bags of Halloween candy stashed in the cabinet? Costco!
I picked up the boys early from school that afternoon so that I could drag everyone to Charlottesville for Casey's doctor's appointment. Spence was over-tired from school (and no nap), Gibbs was bored, and Casey was antsy. It wasn't our finest moment.
Casey had a weird reaction to the flu shot last year (after never having trouble with any vaccines or allergies in the past), so the pediatrician wanted us to consult an allergist before giving him the shot again this year. We're thinking that it was probably just a fluke and that he won't have a reaction again, but we'll have to go back to the allergist's office later this fall so that she can administer it to him in two smaller doses, just to be sure. Needless to say, he wasn't fond of this trip AT ALL, and he really won't be fond of the two follow-up appointments...
We had a short time at home later in the afternoon for an early dinner before Gibbs's soccer practice. I took inspiration from this week's Simply Mailed meal plan again and I made One Skillet Chicken with Garlic Mushroom Sauce. We had green beans and a baguette from the freezer on the side.
Casey and his friend Sarah❤️
On Thursday morning I had to go to the DMV to renew my driver's license. Worst errand EVER with a three-year-old?! We tried to make it as painless as possible by getting there early in the hopes of getting out of there early, too.
We dropped off the older kids at school and then drove straight up to Culpeper to the nearest DMV. Since we were there about 30 minutes before it opened, we grabbed morning snacks at Dunkin Donuts,
Glazed donut for him...
Egg and cheese wrap for me...
and then parked the car in the DMV parking lot before heading off on a short walk.
I knew that I better let Spence run around for a few minutes before I asked him to sit still in the waiting area.
The DMV is in the middle of nowhere, so we could safely walk up the road to check out the nearby farms.
I also used the opportunity to snap photos of my new earrings, which I wanted to share with you. Doesn't everyone take selfies while walking near the DMV parking lot? So strange, I know, but I wanted to be able to show you what they look like on my ears!
I love, love, love these earrings, which were sent to me by a blog reader named Rebecca. I first met Rebecca when she participated in my free 5-Day Meal Planning Challenge earlier this fall (you can still participate in the Challenge here if you're interested).
Rebecca is a jewelry artist and has an online Etsy shop called Fuchsia Bloom Studio. She creates pieces for weddings, trunk shows, wholesale, and ladies just like me. Rebecca offered to send me one of her designs as a "thank you" for the free help that I provided in the 5-Day Challenge. So nice, right? I had a hard time selecting what I wanted, but after plenty of back-and-forth discussion with Rebecca, I ultimately decided on these Brass Tulip Earrings and I'm SO happy with that choice. They instantly dress up an outfit without feeling too fancy. Because I'm anything but fancy!
I just wanted to share this beautiful jewelry in case any of you are looking for gift ideas as the holidays approach, or in case you might need a fun and affordable way to spice up your fall wardrobe. Some of my other favorites from her shop include: the green brass patina tulip earrings, the small calla lily silver earrings, and the gold chrysanthemum earrings. She has some beautiful charm necklaces, too! Let me know if you treat yourself to something new...
Back to the DMV! Spence and I were in and out of there in about 25 minutes, so that was a great success! We spent the rest of the day at home waiting for the refrigerator repair man to come replace a part on our fridge.
I kept him busy with anything that seemed remotely entertaining...including toy sharks in a bucket of water on the front porch! It turned into a "car wash" shortly after...
I also spent a few minutes planning our meals and preparing a shopping list for the coming week, since I knew that I would be able to run to the grocery store on Friday morning while Spencer was in school. I figured that would be MUCH easier than trying to drag all 3 kids shopping over the weekend when Keith was out of town!
This photo reminds me to mention that I just ordered that new 2018 Day Designer from Amazon. I love a good paper planner, and this one seems perfect. I've used Day Designers in the past, but I didn't love the huge, thick, cumbersome design of the hardcover books (even though they are beautiful and sturdy). This version is thin and lightweight, but still leaves plenty of room for writing inside. Hooray for organization!????????????
I used the 3 Simply Mailed recipes from next week's meal plan as the foundation for our week, and supplemented with a few additional ideas.
Keith left town that day for a vacation with his dad and brothers, so the kids and I were on our own for dinner that evening. I kept it really simple and just heated up some tomato soup, which I served with grilled cheese sandwiches on the side.
Friday morning started the same way that it always does when Spencer has school -- with tears! He starts crying at home, long before we even have to leave. Then it's a battle to get him out of the car and into the classroom each day while he's hysterically kicking and screaming. Poor kid would much rather stay home with Mom!???? It's emotionally draining for me each time, too...
I went for a walk with Mollie and Sallie after drop-off, and then ran through the grocery store to pick up food for the coming week before rushing home to put everything away. I then headed back to pick Spencer up at noon, and we ate lunch in the car on our way to Charlottesville.
My mom had knee surgery on Thursday night, so we paid a visit to the UVA Hospital on Friday afternoon to say hello, to deliver flowers, and to drive trucks along the windowsill.????
Then it was a race back to Madison for school pick-up. Both of the older boys brought friends home with them, so I had a house full of 5 busy boyzzzzzz for the evening.
After one round of snacks, the kids were rummaging through the pantry again an hour later, so I baked a few pizzas and fed everyone an early dinner. Minimal effort when Dad's out of town (and the boys thought it was perfect, of course)!
Late on Friday night I noticed that the water pressure coming out of our faucets was really low. By the morning there was no water to the house at all, and after our friend John Paul came over to see if he could help, we realized that we would probably need a new well pump. ???? This is not the type of excitement that I'm equipped to handle on my own when Keith's out of town! The earliest I could get a plumber out to the house is today (Sunday). Fingers crossed for a relatively quick resolution to the lack of water at home!
My Dad joined us for Casey's soccer game on Saturday morning, we had subs for lunch afterwards, and then I put everyone in the car with our dirty laundry and overnight bags and headed an hour south to my parents' house for the night -- in search of running water and hot showers!
My mom was still at the hospital, so I fixed us taco salads, stashed some beef and cheese enchiladas in my parents' freezer for a later date, and baked a loaf of pumpkin bread for breakfast. Then I proceeded to do a zillion loads of laundry and take a glorious, much-needed shower!
This morning I'm headed back to Madison to meet the plumber and to try to get our well situation resolved before Gibbs's afternoon soccer game. Wish me luck! Here's hoping you all have a great week ahead, too!❤️
Need some help planning your family's meals? When you join Simply Mailed, I will send you 3 quick-prep dinner recipes and a grocery shopping list each week (for less than $1 per week!!!). This super-affordable service takes the stress out of dinner, saves you time and money, and brings your family together at the end of the day. There are even options for smaller households of just 1 or 2!
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