Hey, friends! Happy New Year's Eve! It's Sunday morning, which means that it's time for another roundup of Our Week in Meals. In addition to our Christmas celebrations, I'm also sharing a list of my Top 10 Blog Posts from 2017 at the end, so be sure to read all of the way to the bottom if you're curious!
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…
Sunday was Christmas Eve, so we piled in the car and headed a couple of hours north to visit Keith's family for the day.
We made a pit stop for lunch at Wegman's about halfway into our trip. The kids loved the food court where they could pick whatever they wanted to eat, and they insisted on riding the elevator to the second floor dining area -- these are simple pleasures that country boys don't get to experience very often!????
I grabbed just about everything from the salad bar!
We spent the afternoon exchanging gifts, playing, and putting on new Christmas pajamas...
We made it home in time for a late dinner of Christmas Eve Lasagna.
My boys were up with their lights on by 4:50 a.m.(!!!) on Monday, so needless to say, our Christmas was off to an early start!
The kids stayed busy with their new toys, while I pulled together breakfast (and lots of coffee).
We had my dad's Stollen (my favorite),
along with Country Ham Biscuits, eggs, donuts (for the boys),
and fruit salad.
My parents, my Aunt Barbara, and my Uncle Gary arrived shortly after lunch for cocktails, gifts, and an early supper.
We packed a lot of fun family time into a couple of days -- just as it should be at this time of year!
I set out a few appetizers, including my Holiday Crab Dip with crackers,
and a bowl of Spiced Nuts (recipe in this post from last weekend).
We sat down to an early dinner around 4:00 p.m., which was a team effort. We stuck with the traditional menu that we have almost every year (because why mess with it if it tastes delicious)?!
Keith was in charge of the Southern Bourbon-Glazed Beef Tenderloin,
my mom brought Aunt Bee's 3-Ingredient Cheesy Potato Casserole,
I made my Easy Creamed Spinach Casserole,
as well as my Orange Pineapple Fluff Salad (my favorite side!).
I set out a basket of dinner rolls and Cranberry Walnut Bread (from Costco's bakery),
and Aunt Barbara brought a tasty salad.
This was a mix of greens, pistachios, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and clementines tossed in a creamy balsamic vinaigrette with apple slices on top in the shape of a wreath!
We had a tray of Christmas cookies for dessert (including Old-Fashioned Williamsburg Gingerbread Cookies, Cherry White Chocolate Chip cookies, and Bourbon Balls), as well as a chocolate-raspberry angel food trifle that my parents brought. SO GOOD! I ate those leftovers for days...
Oh my goodness...what a wonderful (and exhausting) day!
Casey was so tired at bedtime that he vomited while waiting to brush his teeth! I had visions of the stomach bug running rampant through our house, but fortunately he was totally fine by the next morning. I really think it was just overwhelming fatigue. The excitement of Christmas is almost more than my little guys can handle!
As a result, Tuesday was a very low-key day. Keith and Gibbs wanted to see the movie Jumanji, so they headed to the theater in Charlottesville after lunch, while I stayed home with the younger boys.
Casey and Spencer were happy to play with their new toys while I did a MAJOR clean-up around the house.
The clean-up mode continued at dinnertime, as I did my best to make space in our fridge and use up some of the leftovers from previous meals.
We had leftover lasagna that night, as well as a side salad and leftover spinach casserole. Plus leftover trifle and Christmas cookies for dessert!!
We didn't have too many plans on Wednesday, but we knew that we needed to get the boys out of the house. Since the weather was cold and gray, we decided to meet friends at the bowling alley in Culpeper.
This was such a fun outing! I'm really enjoying the kids as they get older -- we can do activities like this without it turning into a complete debacle, without considering nap times, and without toddler meltdowns.????
We then headed over to Chili's for lunch as a group.
I ordered the lunch combo: ½ of a Southwestern BLT + a House Salad
I served a cozy slow cooker soup for dinner: Chicken Corn Chowder. I can't wait to share the recipe on the blog in a couple of weeks!
The new bowls were a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law!????
We spent Thursday morning at home, putting away Christmas decorations, and engaging in ridiculously competitive games of floor hockey.
Casey and I made a quick trip to Yoder's just before lunch to pick up some deli meat, but we also came home with a (non-alcoholic) fruit cake that he just had to have.????
We hosted a play date with about a zillion little boys in the afternoon (actually, it was 7 total), which was a great way to keep the kids entertained and distracted with friends (instead of fighting with each other).????
After our friends left, I pulled out another round of leftovers for dinner. This time we had some of the extras from Christmas -- including beef tenderloin and cheesy potato casserole:
plus a new batch of Slow Cooker Southern Green Beans.
I started Friday morning with an oldie-but-goodie breakfast: my 2-Minute Maple and Brown Sugar Protein Oatmeal.
I topped it with the Spiced Nuts that I made for Christmas, as well as sliced banana and fresh berries. That's how I like my oatmeal!
Our former babysitter, Rebekah, who still lives on a farm up the road from us, came by for a visit later that morning. She will always be one of the boys' favorite playmates!
Rebekah stayed for lunch, and even shared a plate of holiday goodies with us for dessert -- including her sister's homemade caramel chocolates, peanut butter chocolates, and peanut brittle. These disappeared FAST!
The rest of the afternoon was devoted to running errands -- including a trip to Costco and a grocery order pick-up.
We came home for a quick dinner of pizza and Caesar salad before the boys' basketball practice at 6:00 p.m.
We spent the bulk of Saturday on household chores -- including a major clean-up of the General Store building on our property.
Keith took multiple truckloads of stuff to the dump...from old fencing boards to broken toys (and everything in between)!
Dinner that night was better than Chinese take-out! We had my One Skillet Cashew Chicken stir-fry with rice, which is always tasty.
And I finished my most recent book before bed, which was a really great read!
I highly recommend Kathleen Flinn's memoir, Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good. It is beautifully written!
That brings us to today -- the last day of 2017. I hope that you all have a safe and fun New Year's Eve!
Since I can't think of a better way to end the year than with a quick look back at our successes from the previous 12 months, I'll leave you this morning with a list of my Top 10 Blog Posts from 2017 (these are the most popular recipes posted in 2017, according to Google Analytics). You can click on any title to bring you straight to that post. Did your favorite make the list?!
- Dump-and-Bake Healthy Chicken Parmesan
- Dump-and-Bake Aloha Chicken and Rice
- Honey Garlic Dijon Pork Tenderloin Marinade
- Dump-and-Bake Chicken Caprese Pasta
- Baked Ham and Cheese Omelet
- Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Casserole
- London Broil Marinade for the Grill or Oven
- Grandma's Baked Eggplant Parmesan
- Dump-and-Bake Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta
- Slow Cooker Chicken and Stuffing Casserole
And the MOST popular post of all time? The 30-Day Healthy Slow Cooker Challenge, which was originally posted in December of 2016. It would be a great way to kick off the New Year again, so be sure to check it out!
Cheers, and thanks to all of you for your kind words, for your support, and for reading along with our family. See you in 2018!
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