Hi, hi! I’ve had quite the week — with Easter, the boys on Spring Break, and even some solo time — so how about a quick recap?
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…
Our Easter started bright and early at 6:30 a.m. with baskets from The Bunny. You never know what will be a hit with the kids, but these headlamps were definitely some of the favorites in this year’s baskets. The boys have been using them for reading in bed, for running around in the dark, and for pretending to be miners in caves. Also popular? This game (which they think is hilarious), and these balls (which they use for dodgeball at school).
We paused for a quick breakfast that included smoothies,
pretty Easter donuts (the boys’ favorite, obviously),
and a fresh fruit salad made from the sweetest berries I’ve tasted all year. I had eggs and toast on the side in lieu of the donuts for some less-sweet sustenance!
When the sun finally rose, the boys raced outside to hunt for eggs…and to collect more treats! The egg hunt took a looooooong time to prep, but they were finished in what seemed like 30 seconds. It’s always a RACE!
Since the kids had consumed more than their fair share of sugar, and since the weather was relatively mild, we decided to head out for an Easter hike before lunch. Burn off some of that excited energy!
Modeling his new headlamp. 😂
I got off pretty easy in terms of the Easter cooking. My mom hosted dinner this year, so we were the guests and Mom did most of the work. Such a treat!
My contribution to the meal was a retro Strawberry Jello Salad, in honor of my grandmother (The Queen of Jell-O Molds).
The boys enjoyed a second egg hunt at my parents’ house, plus fishing in the pond (they even caught a few!)…
…and Easter Bunny Legos with Aunt Barbara before our early supper.
In addition to the Jello Salad, Mom served a beautiful holiday buffet! I’ll quickly run through the menu for you:
Deviled Eggs that looked like Easter chicks
Honey Baked Ham and Turkey
My Grandmother’s Potato Salad
Veggies and Dip
Sauteed Green Beans with Walnuts, plus an unpictured loaf of French bread
And of course, everyone’s favorite…these cute Easter Bunny Coconut Cupcakes. Not only were they adorable, but they tasted SO GOOD. Perfect way to end the meal!
After the excitement of the holiday, the sugar crash, and the late night, the kids and I were all ready for a slower Monday.
The boys were home from school all week for Spring Break, so we took advantage and stayed close to home. It was rainy and cool, which meant little motivation to leave the house.
A brief moment of peace with new Play-Doh, in between the bickering and fighting that was going on the rest of the morning!
We all needed to get out for some fresh air after lunch, so we took a quick walk (or run!) in the woods.
Keith didn’t make it home in time for dinner that night, and the boys and I had to eat at 4:30 in order to get to Casey’s soccer practice on time, so I used it as an opportunity to enjoy the leftovers in the refrigerator.
I made myself a Waldorf Salad with leftover rotisserie chicken, apples, celery, grapes, and almonds in a mayo-yogurt dressing. The kids had sandwiches with the leftover turkey and honey baked ham from Easter. Yum!
Tuesday was more of an adventure! I gave the boys a few options for our outing and they all agreed on the Metro Richmond Zoo as our final destination.
This was such a fun way to spend the day! It’s a bit of a drive from our house (about 90 minutes east from the mountains to the outskirts of Richmond), but it’s an easy route with zero traffic.
The Richmond Zoo was also the perfect size for my kids. Four-year-old Spencer could easily walk the entire thing, and it took us about 2 hours altogether — just right for our relatively short attention spans.
There was a Safari Train to ride, and the boys got plenty of fresh air and exercise at their own pace. No crowds, no lines, and a lot of cool animals to explore up close.
The rest of us were too chicken to go inside the aviary, but Casey could have fed those birds for hours!
We made it home mid-afternoon, which meant that I had time to pick up an online grocery order before feeding everyone an early dinner.
I knew that I would need to have dinner ready when we walked in the door, because Spencer had soccer practice at 5:30 that evening. Crock Pot to the rescue!
I put all of the ingredients for my Greek Chicken Gyros in the slow cooker that morning before we left for the zoo, and we came home to a feast. Definitely one of my favorites!
Wednesday was definitely an unusual day for me, because it was entirely kid-free!
My in-laws hosted the boys for a sleepover that night, so I had about 24 hours with a very quiet house. It was almost overwhelming for me to try to decide what to do with all of my “free time!”
Ultimately, I just knew that I needed to buckle down and really crank out a lot of work, since it’s virtually impossible to get anything done when they’re home for Spring Break. So, I spent the morning photographing a few recipes, and then I squeezed in a quick trip to Costco because I knew that it would be far easier to do that on my own.
But it wasn’t all work and no play! I went over to Mollie’s farm to visit her that afternoon, and we managed to escape for a beautiful (but windy!) walk while her son was with the babysitter.
If I’m on my own, I would normally just pour myself a bowl of cereal and call it a night…but, I had a refrigerator full of food since I had been photographing recipes earlier that day.
I took advantage of the prepared meals and served myself a plate of Apricot-Glazed Pork Tenderloin with a side of pan roasted asparagus. I was testing the pork for an upcoming Simply Mailed meal plan.
You better believe that I sat on the couch and ate my dinner while watching the news…something that NEVER happens when we’re eating a meal with the children! I have a firm rule about only eating at the table (largely because I don’t want to clean up crumbs all over the house), so I broke my own rule at the first opportunity.😀
The rest of my evening included some more work — writing, accounting, and then pleasure reading in the form of a couple of new books!
There are so many great recipes in these books, but I’m especially enamored with the chicken ideas. The Easy Chicken Recipes book includes 103 different soups, salads, casseroles and dinners made from everyone’s favorite protein! I can’t wait to try the Bourbon Chicken and Biscuits appetizers, the Slow Cooker Outrageous Cashew Chicken, and the oven-baked Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza. Holy yum!!!
If you’re looking for some new chicken inspiration to mix up your easy weeknight dinner routine, I highly recommend these books!
I enjoyed some vanilla ice cream while reading on the coach, and then crashed in bed at 9:00 p.m. Bliss!
Thursday morning was quiet since the kids were still gone. I slowly sipped my coffee, had breakfast, and did some work before I headed out to meet Mollie for another walk. It was a beautiful morning!
From there I took myself shopping (such a treat), and then made it back home late morning before the boys arrived.
Did I miss them? Of course! Did I enjoy a break for the first time in years? 100%. It felt like a quick little vacation, and I appreciated every minute of it. And then I was happy to see them walk back through the door and return to our regular routine…refreshed.
Our afternoon was very low-key at home, since the kids were exhausted. I served a meal that I knew everyone would love, which came together very easily: my oldie-but-goodie Slow Cooker Turkey Sloppy Joes. They’re always a hit — especially with potato chips and coleslaw on the side.
Spencer returned to preschool on Friday morning, while the older boys were still enjoying their last few days of vacation. Keith took the day off from work, so while I shuttled the little one to-and-from his school, the rest of my guys went out for a hike to enjoy the beautiful weather.
I dragged the kids to get haircuts that afternoon, and then we had a dinner that I know is always a safe bet: my 15-Minute Grilled Salmon.
You’ve probably seen us eat this salmon about a zillion times on my weekly meal updates, so I’m finally going to share the “official” recipe on the blog soon. It’s hardly a recipe at all, but I’ve received a lot of questions about how we grill our fish, so I’m going to give you the details next month. Stay tuned!
We had our salmon with pesto pasta, dinner rolls, and frozen mixed veggies that I sauteed in a skillet with garlic and olive oil.
We spent most of our Saturday on the soccer fields…freezing. This was the first official weekend of spring soccer, yet there were snow flurries coming down and the wind was blowing!?! I was clutching onto my hot coffee mug for dear life.
Since I now have 3 boys on 3 different teams, this is what our weekends will look like for the next few months (or years)…
I didn’t have a specific plan for dinner that night, but the cold weather had me craving a cozy slow cooker meal.
I grabbed my new chicken cookbook and flipped through to find something that (1) looked like it would appeal to my whole family; and (2) used pantry ingredients that I already had on hand.
In the end I went with Addie’s Dump ‘n’ Go Hawaiian Chicken:
I served the Hawaiian chicken with basmati rice and stir-fry veggies from the freezer. Delish!
We had a quiet rest of the evening, including a movie on the couch and a fire in the wood stove. Fingers crossed for warmer, sunnier weather in the week ahead!
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 about $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.