Hey, friends! Happy Sunday to you! I'm back with another roundup of Our Week in Meals, which includes the details from our Thanksgiving feast, our hunt for the perfect Christmas tree, and (of course) our regular ole' weeknight dinners.
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…
On Sunday morning we headed into Charlottesville so that I could do some quick shopping at Costco while the boys took my car to the car wash. Multi-tasking!
I was assigned the Fruit Tray for Spencer's Thanksgiving feast at the preschool on Monday, so I picked up a bunch of fruit, plenty of fresh flowers for our Thanksgiving table, laundry detergent, and other fun stuff.
After lunch Keith and Casey flew kites in the yard for a long time -- it was such a windy day!
Keith was out of town for the night, so the boys and I had a very low-key evening at home.
We took showers and put on our pajamas before 5:00 p.m., and then ate an early dinner of quesadillas, corn, chips and salsa, and fruit.
After dinner we hunkered down on the couch, where I read a magazine while the kids watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Spencer built train tracks.
So many holiday decor ideas and beautiful layer cakes in here!
I squeezed in a nice walk with Mollie on Monday morning before I returned to the preschool for Spencer's Thanksgiving Feast.
I brought our fruit tray,
but Spencer's favorites were the desserts (of course). These chocolate-pretzel turkeys were adorable,
Melt a Rolo chocolate candy on a mini pretzel just until warm. Add an M&M beak, candy corn feathers, and little eyes!
and so were these acorn cookies!
Miniature Nilla Wafers + Melted Chocolate + Mini Chocolate Chips + Hershey's Kisses
Keith was back home for dinner that evening, so I served a family favorite: my mother-in-law's Christmas Eve Lasagna! I'll share the recipe next week.????
I prepared the lasagna over the weekend, so on Monday evening I just had to bake it in the oven. We had a salad on the side.
Poor Spencer had to go to the pediatrician on Tuesday morning for his 4-year-old well check-up. The good news is that he's healthy! The bad news is that he had to get 5 different shots while we were there. Little guy was NOT happy.
Since we were in "the big city" of Charlottesville for our appointment, we spent the rest of the morning running errands. First, though -- fuel for our shopping!
We were both hungry after the doctor's at 10:30 a.m., so we went through Chik-Fil-A and picked up brunch/snack/early lunch. Chicken nuggets for him, and this Egg White Grill Sandwich for me. It was delicious! Loved the addition of the chicken breast and the whole wheat English muffin.
The shots were quickly forgotten when he picked out a Construction play set at Target for being "so brave."
The boys were very excited to see a special delivery at our house later that afternoon! Every year or two Keith receives a truckload of logs, which he then chops and seasons for firewood in the coming years. It's stored behind our General Store building, which I mentioned in this post.
For dinner I made one of our favorite shrimp dishes, which is perfect for the cooler weather months when we're not using the grill as much. This Baked Italian Shrimp is a quick 20-minute meal, and it's delicious with pasta, rice, or bread. We had garlic breadsticks and a Caesar salad on the side.
Our holiday officially started on Wednesday. The older boys just had a half day of school, and Keith took the whole day off from work.
I spent the morning checking some to-do's off my list, which included organizing my spice cabinet! I'll share more details about this soon because I'm planning a Kitchen Organization/Cleaning Challenge next month. Stayed tuned!
What a relief, though -- I had been putting off this chore for far too long, and in the end it only took me about 30 minutes from start to finish! Time well spent.????
I used about 40 of these jars.
I used these labels.
I also baked two loaves of Amish Friendship Bread. Have you ever made this before? My friend Jackie brought me the starter last week, and Wednesday was "baking day" on the schedule.
We love this cinnamon sugar quick bread so much that I think I need to share it on the blog! I'll get the post up as soon as possible, because I bet a lot of you would like to gift this bread to your friends for the holidays!
I picked Gibbs and Casey up at noon and enjoyed a lunch date with my big boys.
Meanwhile, Keith and Spencer stayed home to take care of manly jobs in the yard!
We took the kids to get haircuts that afternoon, and then we came home for a tasty and easy dinner: my oldie-but-goodie Taco Pasta Casserole!
It's basically mac and cheese with a taco twist. I served broccoli on the side to get in some veggies.
Thursday was Thanksgiving! I woke up feeling so thankful for everything in our lives -- but especially for my family. These guys can be tough to parent, but they bring me so much joy!
I took a long and chilly morning walk to get some fresh air before starting my work in the kitchen.
It was a frosty 22 degrees F when I left the house, but it was so incredibly beautiful that I didn't even mind the numb toes! I bundled up really well!
It officially felt like winter that morning. A changing of the seasons, just in time for the holidays!
It wasn't windy and the sun came out as I was walking, so the temperature wasn't too uncomfortable.
Then it was time to get ready for the feast! My parents joined us at our house that afternoon, so it was a small, special gathering.
I set our new table with 4 small jars of fresh flowers and my grandmother's china.
My mom and I divided up the dinner menu, so it really wasn't too much work for anyone.
Mom was in charge of her Apple and Butternut Squash Casserole, my Grandmother's Sauerkraut with Bacon, an Orange-Cranberry Sauce similar to this recipe (made with New England cranberries that my parents brought back from the Vineyard last week), and dessert.
We took care of two turkey breasts (which Keith grilled),
because if it involves marshmallows and maraschino cherries, he's all-in!
I also made a bread basket for the table, which included a loaf of my neighbor's homemade bread and slices of my Amish Friendship Bread. The kids had the Friendship Bread for breakfast the next morning as well, and they're totally obsessed. I see many more loaves in our future!
For dessert my mom brought a Pumpkin Cheesecake (from Costco), and she made a delicious Cast Iron Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie for the boys (they LOVED it). She used this recipe. I also put out a few of my Old-Fashioned Williamsburg Gingerbread Cookies, which I will share on the blog in the coming week.
It was a beautiful day and an absolutely delicious dinner with family. Unfortunately, poor Spencer crashed that night by 6:00 p.m. and went to bed without even joining us for the meal. We assumed that he was just overly tired, but on Friday morning we learned otherwise. He woke up around 6:00 a.m. and spent the next few hours vomiting non-stop.
Whatever little sickness he had passed quickly, though, and by lunchtime he was back outside and helping Keith with the yard work!
I took a gorgeous walk to get some fresh air,
and then made a Leftover Turkey Reuben for lunch! I spread Thousand Island dressing on Jan's bread and topped it with turkey, my Grandmother's Sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese. Toasted until melted and crispy!
I was glad to see that Spencer's appetite was back with a vengeance, so he enjoyed his Thanksgiving turkey a day late in the form of a turkey and cheese sandwich.
After lunch we went to our favorite little Christmas tree farm here in Madison to cut down our tree.
The boys love it for the hot chocolate,
and the train!
I made a meal plan for the week and then headed to the grocery store for a quick shopping trip before supper.
That night we had Thanksgiving leftovers (of course): Aunt Bee's Leftover Turkey Casserole, plus green bean casserole, ambrosia salad, squash casserole, and cranberry sauce on the side.
Saturday was almost exclusively devoted to Christmas decorating. I've never seen the kids so excited to help with it all, which was very fun (but also very challenging). I had three little elves underfoot at all times...and we definitely shattered a few ornaments in the process!
Spence is completely enamored with our Polar Express train (<-- our train came from Pottery Barn, but it's on major sale at that link on HSN)!
We were originally planning to go out to dinner that evening, but after a day of yard work, hauling bins, and decorating the tree and the house, we were all tired and just wanted to stay in. Freezer meal to the rescue!
I baked chicken strips and chicken nuggets (which were leftover from this post), and served them with a salad on the side. It was the perfect easy option for a night when I didn't feel like cooking.
And that's where I'll leave it for now! It's almost Cyber Monday (see my Holiday Gift Guide here), and we have another busy week ahead as we get ready to celebrate Gibbs's birthday. The fun continues!
Speaking of birthday celebrations, before I let you go, I wanted to quickly tell you about a really cool business that my friend Anne recently launched. Anne went to college with me, is best friends with my sister-in-law, and is a working mom with two young boys of her own. This new business is perfect for parents like us, and I know that it will help so many people take the stress out of birthday parties.
Gingham is a new online platform to help busy moms get customized birthday party designs and party goods. You can input your event details, attach a few of your favorite Pinterest inspiration photos, and a party designer will send you a customized party box with all of the goods to make your child's birthday exactly in the theme and style you want. In select cities, they'll even include an event assistant to come set it all up for you the day-of and assist with party logistics. Doesn't that sound dreamy?! You can check out the details HERE!
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!
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.