Hey, friends! From pumpkin patches to corn mazes, we've had quite the busy week -- complete with plenty of easy weeknight dinners! Are you ready to dive right into another 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…
Keith left very early on Sunday morning for a business trip. Since the boys and I were on our own, we hit the road after lunch to go visit my parents for the afternoon.
Road fuel as we were driving through Charlottesville: glazed donuts for the kids and Maple Pecan Iced Coffee for me!
The kids stayed busy with football,
and Halloween art projects (that my mother-in-law sent them),
while my dad and I went up the road to my favorite antique store on a hunt for dining room chairs. I recently ordered a new Virginia farm table for our dining room, which is made with reclaimed wood. I wanted to find some appropriate chairs to go with the table, which would all suit the style and "character" of our 100-year-old farmhouse. Mission accomplished! My most exciting find was this bench seat from an old horse-drawn buggy. My Uncle Gary's going to reinforce the original hardware and raise it up a bit to be a more appropriate height for the table. More on that in the coming weeks!
We had a brief visit with Aunt Barbara and Uncle Gary, my mom served us an early supper, and then we hit the road to get back home for the normal bedtime routine. It was a school night!
Mom's spaghetti with meat sauce, salad, and bread. Delicious!
We were back to our normal schedule on Monday, so I had about 2 hours at home in the morning while Spencer was at preschool. I edited photos, did laundry, and cleaned up the house -- including organizing the "junk drawer" in our kitchen. Long overdue!
Spencer tried on part of his Halloween costume that arrived that day,
and I threw together a quick 2-minute lunch that tasted great so I wanted to share it here. I bought one of those Chipotle Cheddar Salad mixes from the grocery store, a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, and threw it all together with the cheddar cheese, tortilla strips, and Chipotle Ranch dressing that came in the bag. I topped it with the salsa that I recently picked up from Trader Joe's (which I love), and it tasted like a restaurant dish. So fast, too!
The rest of our day included train track construction, homework, and an early supper before Casey's soccer practice that evening.
We had my Grandmother's Baked Eggplant Parmesan, which I was reminded about over the weekend when a kind reader left the nicest note on my Facebook page raving about the recipe. Have you tried it yet? It's definitely one of the best dinners on the blog (even meat-lovers and kids gobble it up!)...
On Wednesday morning Spencer and I went to an antique store in Ruckersville to continue our hunt for the perfect dining chairs. My assistant had a great time "helping" me with the tape measure,
and we came home with 3 great finds -- plus a beautiful, big antique dough bowl! #treasurehunting
We were both hungry for a very early lunch once we finished our shopping adventure, so I let Spencer choose the spot. Not a surprise, he opted for Subway!
We then had to hustle home to drop off our goods before heading into Orange for a Board Meeting at the preschool. From there we picked up the older boys at school and came home for homework and dinner. Phew!
I served a store-bought rotisserie chicken (which the kids love), along with some delicious sides. I'm getting ready for the holidays, so stay tuned for these tasty recipes in the next week or two:
Fannie's Easy, Cheesy Broccoli Casserole
and Southern Cornbread Stuffing (with cranberries, apples, and pecans). Perfect!
Wednesday was a beautiful cool fall day, so I took a short walk with Mollie at her farm after dropping the kids off at their respective schools.
The boys spent the afternoon outside, taking advantage of the weather!
Dinner that night was an easy new chili recipe that I can't wait to share with you! The original recipe came from a reader named Kara, who participated in my free 5-Day Meal Planning Challenge back in August. It's awesome (and SO EASY), so I know you'll love it too! PS -- you can still join the free Challenge here if you're interested.
Kara's Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili with Cornbread
On Thursday morning I wrote a meal plan and shopping list for the week ahead,
and then made a run to Walmart to do our shopping. The cashier asked me if I was "stocking up for the fall." Um...NOPE. Just buying a week's worth of groceries to feed my growing boys! I think a lot of folks are amazed by the amount of food that we go through each day, and it's only going to increase as these kiddos get older!????
This little guy was thrilled because he snagged a chocolate glazed donut from the bakery.
Spencer and I spent some time cleaning the front porch that afternoon, including scrubbing the swing, chairs, benches, and table, and washing the cushions. After a summer outside with the birds and pollen, the furniture was GROSS. Now that we're finally seeing some beautiful, cooler temperatures, it's actually pleasant to sit out there again!????
Keith was home from his trip on Thursday, so we all had dinner together that night. I made a delicious favorite: my Dump-and-Bake Shrimp Scampi with Linguine, which I served with breadsticks and salad. The kids love this meal since it's a simple, mild pasta dish with just enough garlic and plenty of Parmesan cheese!
Friday morning was the perfect time for a field trip to the pumpkin patch with Spencer's preschool class!
We drove a few miles down the road to a nearby farm, where the kids took hayrides out to the pumpkin patch.
We came home with a great little pumpkin, but my favorite part of the farm was the beautiful flower garden. I wanted to bring them all home with me!
After lunch we had some special visitors arrive at our house! My brother and his family flew in from Florida for a long weekend. Such a treat to have all of the cousins together again!
We decided that we need to show our Florida family some Central Virginia fall fun, so we headed back up the road to the next farm of the day: Liberty Mills!
Liberty Mills has the biggest corn maze on the east coast, as well as plenty of fun games for the kids.
We even dragged my parents through the (short part of the) maze!
We parted ways, as my brother and his family went to my parents' house for the night and we came home for an easy dinner: Friday night pizza, salad, and a movie! We tried to rent the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie, but it was a little too scary for the younger boys and we quickly switched over to Nick Jr.!
After a morning on the soccer fields, we headed down to my parents' house on Saturday afternoon for one more quick visit with the cousins before their Sunday morning flight back to Florida.
The kids explored the lake,
and painted pumpkins (which we thought would be much easier than carving 7 pumpkins). It was definitely easier, but I'm not sure it was much cleaner!
Aunt Barbara and Uncle Gary joined us for an Octoberfest-inspired supper! My mom served brats, my great-grandmother's easy sauerkraut with crispy bacon, string beans, and homemade applesauce. Delicious!
We came home with some very exhausted, but very happy children that night!
That's where I'll leave it for today. I've got some cooking on my agenda this morning, and then a possible Apple Harvest Festival here in Madison in the afternoon if I can rally my troops for more excitement. Stay tuned, and have a great week ahead!
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