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Hello, hello from a very hot Central Virginia! I hope that you’re all staying cool and enjoying the weekend! We’re just trying to hydrate around here…

Shall we back up to last weekend and play some catch-up in the form of a Recap?!

I spent time last Sunday morning prepping food for the week, including some snack-size overnight oats in these cute little jars that my mom gave me.


These were 1/4 cup rolled oats + 1/4 cup 2% Greek plain yogurt + 1/4 cup almond milk + 1/2 teaspoon honey + pinch of salt. I stirred in some chia seeds and some fresh peaches and blueberries, too. Perfect option to grab on a hot afternoon! I actually ate the peach jar later that same day (but they will be good in the refrigerator for at least a few days if you can wait that long)…


I also made salmon salad to use up the leftover grilled fish from Saturday night’s dinner. This was just salmon + a bit of mayo + a bit of Greek yogurt + fresh chives + salt and pepper. Great for lunches in pita; on salad; in avocado; with crackers…


I boiled eggs,


made yet another batch of Fudge Pops,

Healthy and Clean Chocolate Almond Fudge Pops 8

browned some ground beef to use for Monday night’s dinner, and chopped up a cantaloupe from the farmer’s market.


Gibbs and I did the 15-minute “Get Up and Go” yoga flow from THIS DVD,


and then I took him to a birthday pool party in Charlottesville while Keith took the younger two boys out to lunch.

He was SO happy to see his friends from school!


Casey and I worked in the garden, but our efforts were minimal thanks to 90+ degree heat. The plants love the rain and sun that we’ve been seeing, though!


For dinner that evening Keith grilled a garlic and herb pork tenderloin,

Grilled Garlic and Herb Pork Tenderloin with Zucchini and Corn 12

while I made some rice in the rice cooker and prepped a cucumber and tomato salad to have on the side. Taking advantage of our garden, as well as my new spiralizer!


The salad was just a mix of the cucumber, tomatoes, and diced avocado. I squirted half of a lemon over the avocado to prevent browning, added fresh basil and chives, and then dressed it all with a simple blend of 2 tablespoons of olive oil + 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar + 1 teaspoon honey + 1/4 teaspoon salt. Toss and serve!


On Monday morning I was finally back at the gym for a workout with Mark after a 2-week+ hiatus. It was nice to feel like I was in a routine this week, but the workout itself was pretty rough (I guess that’s what happens when you take time off to drink wine, eat ice cream, and sit on the beach)! There was no “easing back into it,” and I spent 30 minutes with challenging exercises like these box jumps from a seated position (we did 3 rounds of 10 reps). I love that Mark always comes up with new and different ways to keep our muscles guessing — never the same workout twice!


Then it was a mad dash to get home, showered, and fed so that I could race the boys out of the house for Gibbs’s first morning of camp (which started at 8:00 a.m. in the next town over). A van full of boys…


and an iced coffee for the road!


After dropping Gibbs at his camp, we had some time to kill so we stopped at Virginia Tractor so that the boys could check out the equipment (seriously…better than a toy store!)…


and then we dropped Casey off at his friend Aidan’s farm for a playdate with his buddies.


The morning involved water balloons, which was perfectly appropriate for a 100-degree day (and of course Casey loved it)!


I snacked on a Peaches and Cream Protein Smoothie while testing some recipes,

Peaches and Cream Protein Smoothie 4

and then sat down for a late lunch after I put the boys in their rooms for naps. Leftovers for the win!

Salmon Salad + Kale Salad + Cucumber Avocado and Tomato Salad plus the other jar of Blueberry Overnight Oats


Dinner that evening was Skinny Taco Stuffed Peppers, plus guacamole + corn + chips on the side. Delish!

Skinny Taco Stuffed Peppers 9

Tuesday felt like kind of a crazy day because I was running around in the car a lot, felt constantly rushed (or late), and didn’t get much accomplished. Those days happen, right?!

It started off well with an early morning Boot Camp Class at the gym, before racing home to get everyone dressed, fed, and out the door to take Gibbs to camp. From there we made a stop at the store to pick up a few groceries that I needed for a post, came home to bake some brownies,

Thin Mints Brownies with Chocolate Chunks 9

and the boys wanted to play inside since it was so hot outdoors. We pulled out the Sculpey clay and made rainbow swirl balls. All was well until I got distracted and forgot about our artwork that was baking in the toaster oven. When I smelled something burning I quickly returned to find the kids’ creations a little bit crispy (but no fire, so it’s all good)! ?


I also prepped a salad to have with dinner — another version of Sunday’s Cucumber-Tomato-Avocado salad…

We’ve been eating cucumbers as much as possible because Casey’s picking about 4 each day from his garden!


but this time I just dressed the salad with this Italian Vinaigrette. I received the dressing in last month’s Degustabox shipment and it’s really good for a bottled vinaigrette — almost tastes homemade!


After lunch we drove to Charlottesville for a doctor’s appointment for Casey, and then had a short amount of time to kill before running back out to get Gibbs. Like I said — lots of driving and running around that day…

Fortunately dinner was an easy one! In addition to the Cucumber Salad, we also had pasta with my Slow Cooker Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatballs. A crowd-pleaser!

Slow Cooker Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs 8

After sitting on the couch and doing some work, I headed upstairs to read some more of the book that has captured my attention over the past couple of weeks: The Summer Before the War. This is SOOOO good! I’ll share more details when I’m done!

the summer before the war

Wednesday was a little bit quieter than Tuesday, which was nice. I started the day with an early workout with Mark, where we used the battle ropes to do jumping jacks, which definitely burned my shoulders (in addition to the cardio element). We did three sets of 30-seconds each and that was tough!


I had a dentist appointment later that morning, so after taking Casey to his friend Henry’s farm and Gibbs to camp, I returned home to drop Spencer off with the babysitter. He loved the one-on-one attention, and Hannah spoiled him with art projects (like this paper city), as well as plenty of outdoor play.


We picked Casey up after lunch and spent a couple of hours playing at home before it was time to run back out to get Gibbs. With long days at camp (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.) he returned home each night so exhausted that he was like a zombie on the couch! Hah! I’m seriously contemplating sending Casey next week…?

Dinner that night was THIS Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala served over quinoa (that I cooked in my rice cooker) with a side of steamed broccoli. And some garden parsley for garnish because…I have TOO MUCH. ? This was about as easy as dinner gets because I didn’t even make the chicken that day. I had saved some leftovers in the freezer from a previous meal a couple of months ago, so this was just a matter of reheating what was already cooked. Love that!


After a group strength training class at the gym on Thursday, I hurried home to get everyone out the door by 7:30. I dropped Gibbs off at camp, and then headed up to Culpeper with the younger two for some errands. Before dragging them through a grocery store, I knew that I better let them get out and run around for awhile. We made a pit stop at one of our favorite parks — thank goodness the early morning air was still nice and cool!






Spence took a nap that afternoon for the first time in ages, which was a much-needed rest for all of us. I used that time to sit at the computer and get some work done, while also prepping dinner for later that evening. We had Grilled Chicken, Nectarine and Walnut Salads with a honey lime dressing, plus a baguette that I picked up at the bakery. An easy and light summer dinner that didn’t require an oven! {Plus some ice cream for dessert…tis the season!}

Grilled Chicken Nectarine and Walnut Salad 7

Fridays are often rough around here because we’re all tired and grumpy at the end of the week. Last Friday, though, turned out to be a really nice day. The kids stayed busy and entertained, but I didn’t feel like we were rushing around trying to get too much done.

I eased into my morning with an early PiYo workout before the rest of the house got up. It was just what I needed after a few days at the gym — lots of stretching!


After dropping Gibbs off for his last day of camp, I brought the other two boys back home for the rest of the day. We did some work in the garden before it got too hot,


Casey made a bird’s nest in the front yard (although I’m not sure what’s going to happen to this masterpiece when Keith needs to mow the grass),


and we hosted a play date with Casey’s buddy Aidan.



We picked up Gibbs shortly after Aidan left, and I then took the night off from cooking! We got our favorite Friday night carry-out from the local Italian restaurant, which always makes everyone happy…


And I spent the rest of the evening on the couch with some {very} light reading! A rockin’ Friday night!


On Saturday morning we decided to take the kids on a mini adventure since it was over 100 degrees at home and we needed to entertain them somehow. But first! Coffee…


and a quick run to the farmer’s market!


This week’s haul included:

  • some of the biggest, sweetest, and juiciest blackberries I’ve ever tasted;
  • eggs
  • cookies
  • chocolate chip zucchini muffins
  • eggplant
  • corn
  • tomatoes

Then we packed up our pool bags and headed over the mountain to the valley to enjoy the water park at Massanutten.


Keith and the older boys loved the water slides and the wave pool,


while Spence and I stuck with the rafts on the lazy river and the splash pads!


We had lunch poolside at the “Grill and Chill” cafe,



and then got the heck out of town when the park became crowded (and Spence was in desperate need of a nap in the car). It was a lot of fun, but I’ll be honest: trying to keep track of my 3 boys (and keep everyone safe) at a water park when it was full of people made me VERY stressed. I was completely exhausted by the end of it!

For dinner last night I made some more of the Honey Lime dressing to go on a Nectarine Salad (again) because it’s THAT good. I can’t wait to share the recipe with you soon!


I’ve been using this local honey that I picked up at Yoder’s and oh my goodness. Yum! Local friends — look for it!


Along with the salad, we had a classic summer meal: grilled hamburgers, grilled potatoes, and grilled corn on the cob from the farmer’s market (also delish).

Keith’s plate…he loves Old Bay seasoning on his corn. Ever tried it?!


And that brings us to this morning. We don’t have too many plans, but we’re going to need to figure out a way to run the kids around in spite of the oppressive heat. Wish me luck!


Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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  1. Oh my gosh, Blair, I’m tired just from reading your post, lol – how do you DO IT ALL?? Hats off to you, girl, for squeezing out every single second of life with your family. You truly are an inspiration. Love your family time, exercise time and healthy eating. You’re living the life!

    1. Yep, I’m definitely tired Robyn! 🙂 I do like to make the most of each day, though! Thanks for your sweet words, friend!

  2. You guys have been busy busy busy! Camp, play dates, water balloons, birthday parties, waterparks? It sounds like an awesome summer!

    1. Exactly! So busy! Thanks, Kristy! My boys jumped on the Pokemon Go bandwagon just like you now too! 🙂