Hey, friends! Oh my goodness…we had quite the week of high highs and very low lows. Such is life, right?
It’s Sunday, which means that it’s time for our regular catch-up of Our Week in Meals, so let’s get right to it!
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 didn’t leave the house once on Sunday and it was GLORIOUS. We had no plans on our schedule, so we spent a rainy, cool Sunday morning doing work around the house and prepping for the week ahead.
The kids were still tired after a late night at our friends’ Halloween party on Saturday, so I took advantage of the quiet time and made a batch of Roasted Butternut Squash Soup for the week. I also baked a couple of “No Work” Marinated Chicken Breasts for Monday night’s dinner.
Soup ingredients ready to go…
After an early lunch, the boys were ready to get out of the house. Keith took them to Target to spend their Halloween gift cards, while I stayed home and worked my way through 1798375028937 loads of laundry.
Spencer was too busy opening his Monster Trucks to pose for a picture.🙄
Dinner that night came straight from this week’s Simply Mailed meal plan, and it’s one of my favorite dinners in my eCookbook: Beef and Cheese Enchiladas! I served the enchiladas with chips and salsa, plus a salad.
And then, just as I was getting ready for bed that night, I learned that my sweet, 98-year-old grandmother had passed away. She was such a light, and truly one of the kindest, most beautiful human beings that I will ever know. I feel blessed to have had a wonderful relationship with her, and while I’m sad for my family’s loss, I’m also very happy that she is in a better place now. Life is not always easy, and it certainly makes us appreciate the days that we have here with our loved ones.☹️
Needless to say, on Monday morning I was glad to have a happy distraction!
I met Mollie for a quick morning walk,
and then chaperoned Spencer’s preschool class for their Halloween “march” through downtown Orange.
My soldier was disappointed that he couldn’t bring his toy machine gun to school!😂
There’s seriously nothing cuter than a parade of 3- and 4-year-olds!
They visited the post office, the bank, the florist, and a few other local businesses (like the bed and breakfast here) to show off their costumes.
Knowing that I would have to leave town for a couple of days to go to my grandmother’s funeral, I stopped at the grocery store on our way home to pick up a few items.
By the time I got back to the house, I was hungry and very glad to have a bowl of Roasted Butternut Squash Soup waiting for me. Just a minute or two in the microwave and it was ready to go! I served this with a roast beef sandwich on the side.
Both of the older boys had soccer practices that evening, which meant that I served an early supper to the kids at 4:30 p.m., and then needed another meal for me and Keith later that night.
I was glad that I had prepped my favorite “No Work” Marinated Chicken on Sunday, so that it was ready and waiting for us whenever we needed to eat. Since we didn’t have good grilling weather on Sunday when I was doing some meal prep, I roasted the marinated chicken in the oven at 425 degrees F for about 45 minutes (cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your chicken).
On the side I served this super-easy Praline Acorn Squash and a salad. Love adding some fall ingredients to our chicken dinner!
Spencer and I spent the morning at home on Tuesday, while I packed my suitcase, prepped some food, and just generally got things together before I had to leave for Chicago on Wednesday. We also made time for outdoor play, including army battles…
After lunch we went to the boys’ school to help with the 2nd grade Halloween party. Kids in costumes never gets old!
Aren’t these Jack-o-Lantern Rice Krispies Treats so cute? Gibbs’s teacher made them for the class with candy eyes and Tootsie Roll stems.
I kept it really simple for dinner that night, since we were eating early before trick-or-treating. The boys had these Jack-o-Lantern Mac & Cheese Cups with some sliced cucumber on the side, while I finished off the Roasted Butternut Squash Soup and the leftover chicken from the night before.
Then we got everyone dressed and headed over to the high school to meet Keith at Madison’s annual Trick-or-Trunk event. This is seriously the easiest way to do trick-or-treating with little ones!
Since Madison is a very rural community, we don’t really have neighborhoods for kids to safely trick-or-treat door-to-door. Instead, the businesses and families in the community all come together at the high school parking lot for trick-or-treating out of the back of the pick-up trucks.
The kids walk from one vehicle to the next to check out the elaborate displays and decorations, and obviously to collect candy. It takes a grand total of about 30 minutes, the kids get to see all of their friends, and everyone comes home with more sugar than we can possibly consume. FUN!
Wednesday was a travel day for me. I was home in the morning to do the school drop-off runs, and I stopped in the pharmacy to pick up some NyQuil for my trip (since my little ones were kind enough to share their colds with me)!
I picked up Spencer at noon, had a few minutes for some last-minute snuggles on the couch, and then I joined my parents for a 2 hour drive up north to Dulles Airport. We caught a flight to Chicago that evening for my grandmother’s funeral.
In-flight entertainment: this book.
We arrived at our hotel really late at night, so we joined our extended family in my aunt and uncle’s hotel room for dinner before we crashed in bed. I don’t have any photos of the sandwich, chips, veggies, or cookie that I ate, but I can show you the dinner that I left at home for my boys!
Keith heated up the Spaghetti Bolognese Sauce that I had stashed in the freezer a couple of weeks ago and served it over pasta with a salad and garlic bread. I can’t wait to share the recipe for the sauce with you — coming soon!
Oh my goodness, Thursday was such a hard day.
We had breakfast at the IHOP across the street from our hotel,
Garden Omelet + Pancakes
my brother bought me my first Gingerbread Latte of the season (!!!),
and then we headed to the church for my grandmother’s funeral. This was seriously one of the most difficult days of my life. The relationship that I had with my grandmother was so special, and I have a lifetime of wonderful memories that I will keep with me forever.
We celebrated her life with our extended family, we cried many tears, and we shared many laughs as we reminisced about the 98 amazing years that she was with us. What a beautiful soul, and I feel so truly blessed to have known her.
We followed the church service with a big family lunch, and then it was time for me to return to the airport to begin my journey back home. Such a bittersweet time! I loved seeing my aunts, uncle, and cousins from all over the country to pay our respects to my grandmother — I only wish that it was under happier circumstances.
My flight didn’t leave Chicago until 6 p.m., so I knew that I would need to eat something before I got back to Virginia. I wasn’t too hungry after our filling lunch, so I picked up a few snacks in the terminal and called it dinner!
Juice + Apple + String Cheese + Peanut M&M’s
I made it home to my cozy bed by about 11 p.m….completely drained!
Then it was back to reality on Friday morning. I dropped the older two boys off at school, and then returned home to tackle the dishes, laundry, emails, and meal planning that were waiting for me after a couple of days away. Spencer had the morning off from preschool, so he was dragged along to the grocery store with me later that day.
Whenever I’m planning our weekly meals, I like to ask the boys if they have any dinner requests (because then I know that they’re more likely to eat what I serve). Friday night’s dinner was Gibbs’s favorite: Lightened-Up Mini Meatloaf. I served the meatloaf with (store-bought) mashed potatoes, broccoli, and salad. Everyone finished this meal!
We had a cool and rainy Saturday morning, so Keith took care of some house chores while I did laundry and made a batch of Easy Ham and Bean Soup for lunch. I’ll share the recipe with you soon — it’s such a cozy meal!
I also baked myself a birthday cake since my birthday is today! I was actually planning to bake this cake to share on the blog anyway, so I timed it just right so that we all had a good excuse to enjoy it. This is my mother-in-law’s famous White Texas Sheet Cake, and you’re going to LOVE it. Coming soon!
Spence and I ran over to Yoder’s after lunch to pick up fresh local apples (the Candy Crisp variety is still the best!), lunch meat, and homemade apple cider donuts for Sunday breakfast.
Dinner was a night out!
We headed up to Culpeper to celebrate my birthday, and I let the kids choose the restaurant. We ended up at Buffalo Wild Wings — with college football games on every TV screen.
The food was mediocre (at best), but the company was great!😀
Chicken Soft Tacos + Salad
Sweet Frog for dessert. Always good!
And that’s where I’ll leave it for the week! We have a busy day ahead, so off I go! Have a great week!
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