Hey, hey, friends! Happy last day of July -- I hope that you're having a good Sunday! It's been a HOT week around here (more on that below), but I've got a new recipe and a new workout to share with ya, so let's dive right in to the Weekend Recap!
Last Sunday started off pretty slowly. It was super-hot outside (again!) and I think that we were all still recovering from Saturday's adventures at the water park. I made some iced tea,
and boiled some eggs for the week.
Before it got too steamy outside, I headed to our front yard for a quick workout,
while Spence supervised from the porch (and talked to me the entire time).
This was a great total body workout because it combined some heart-pumping cardio moves (hello, burpees!) with strength training exercises. Including water breaks, it took me about 20 minutes. You can download a printable PDF copy of the workout HERE.
As soon as I was done with my mat, Spence snatched it and brought it inside to use the tree designs as a "road" for his vehicles.?
One of my major accomplishments that day was also defrosting our chest freezer. Exciting, right?! But seriously, I've been working hard to use up the stuff that was packed in there (and not add more to it) so that we could get this done while it's hot outside. Now it will be ready to re-stock with plenty of freezer meals for the busy school season!
And oh, hey! Even more productivity! I painted my fingernails for the first time in...a year? Or two? I don't even know. ? That lasted until Thursday when it started to chip and I got really annoyed and took it off...
While Spence napped that afternoon I prepped an Easy Zucchini and Squash Gratin to have with dinner (and added eggplant to this version), and then sat down at the computer to get some blog stuff done. Meanwhile, Keith took the older two boys to Orange to search for Pokemon with the Pokemon Go app. They're officially hooked!
Garden veggies to go into the gratin...
For dinner Keith grilled cod to have with the gratin, and I added pasta with this homemade roasted tomato sauce (canned last year!) to the side. Fish and veggies alone won't fill up my hungry boys...
And then it was Monday...why, oh why, are Mondays always so hectic?! It seems like no matter what we have on our agenda, it always turns out to be busy...and last Monday was no exception.
I started the morning at the gym with a workout with Maggie and Mark. We did quite a few exercises that worked my core (which is always good), including these V-Ups on the BOSU trainer. You can definitely do a modified version of this on the floor, but the added balance challenge from the BOSU made them especially challenging. I'm smiling in this picture -- probably because I was just laughing at myself for almost toppling over!?
We took Casey to play with his friends at Aidan's farm for the morning,
but only after he ate half a can of Toasted Coconut Almonds for breakfast (along with yogurt and fruit)! He finished the other half of the jar later that afternoon. I'd say he liked them?!
Spencer's looking at him like he's crazy! ?
At noon Hannah arrived to watch the 3 kids so that I could go to a meeting in Charlottesville.
An iced caramel coffee on the way. Because it was 100 degrees outside and because I was TIRED!
I stopped at the grocery store for a few items on the way home, and by the time I made it back from dropping Hannah off, it was almost dinnertime. I was glad that I had only planned a quick and easy dinner that night -- my 4-Ingredient Healthy Chicken Enchilada Casserole. Always a winner, and at the end of the meal there was one serving left for my lunch the next day! Love that.
We put a couple of over-tired children to bed early that night, cleaned up the house that had been neglected all day, and settled on the couch to watch The Bachelorette (<-- guilty pleasure)!
On Tuesday morning I dragged all of the kids to Charlottesville for Casey's 5-year-old well check at the pediatrician. We had to get that paperwork completed for Kindergarten registration, too!
Spencer's just excited to check out the fish in the waiting room...
We made it home around lunchtime and spent the rest of the afternoon playing in the sandbox (so hot!),
and taking outdoor "baths" in the hose. Hey, summertime entertainment (but no nude pics of the kids on here)!
Keith worked late that evening, so the boys and I had a very quick and easy early dinner...
Salmon seared in a skillet, steamed broccoli, Italian bread
and we watched another evening of The Bachelorette before crashing in bed!
I was back in the gym early on Wednesday morning for a workout with Mark and Maggie. Here's a good action shot from one of the more challenging moves that we tried -- Hurricanes with the Ultimate Sandbag. While whipping that thing around our heads, Maggie and I were just happy if we didn't knock ourselves out! It's definitely a great total body exercise, though. Try 3 rounds of 10 reps!
We then stayed home for the rest of the day to host a play date with Henry and Aidan. Keeping 5 little boys out of trouble is no joke! They had me on my toes!
And in other not-so-fun news, I spent the afternoon meeting with two separate folks regarding our BROKEN upstairs air conditioning. Let's just say that the timing was not good. While our AC has led a very long, good life, I would rather it not die during the hottest week of the year. Let's just say it's been toasty upstairs and will continue to be that way until we can get our new units installed this coming week.
Dinner was good, though! I made a very kid-friendly Cheddar-Crusted Chicken and Broccoli Casserole (recipe coming tomorrow!), which I prepped earlier in the day for convenience.
After putting the kids to bed, Keith and I basically spent the short remainder of the evening pouring over brochures about HVAC systems and discussing our options. Home ownership is fun stuff, no?
On Thursday we didn't have ANY plans on our agenda. Kind of scary, kind of nice! I started the morning with a 30-minute walk on the treadmill at the gym. Just enough to loosen up my muscles and wake me up!
After feeding the kids breakfast and getting everyone dressed for the day, I spent a few minutes planning our meals for the week ahead and putting together a grocery list. Since we were out of bread and milk, I knew that I had to make a grocery run.
We stopped at both Costco AND Trader Joe's (I'm a glutton for punishment I suppose) before returning home for lunch.
I then spent the bulk of the afternoon cleaning the house -- definitely NOT an easy task with 3 kids in the way (one step forward, two steps back)! That said, it HAD to be done (kind of like the grocery shopping). Since our air conditioning broke, I didn't want to ask Jackie to come clean our house on Wednesday like she normally would -- she would have been sweltering in the upstairs heat. But when Keith commented on a dust bunny the size of a MOUSE in our hallway, I figured that I better pull out the vacuum because this job couldn't wait any longer...
I had a shadow (err..."helper") the ENTIRE time.
His older brothers, on the other hand, spent most of the time avoiding a vacuum cleaner, duster, or anything that might resemble a cleaning supply. They played Battleship, built Legos...
and then I blinked an eye and it was dinnertime! I took the evening off from anything that required effort -- we had fish sticks (that I uncovered last weekend while cleaning out the freezer), these new-to-us Alexia waffle fries (2 thumbs up!),
homemade Slow Cooker Applesauce,
and veggies from the garden!
Spence was so tired after refusing to nap that afternoon that I put him to bed at 6:30 -- as soon as he could eat dinner and get a bath! Gotta love the 2-year-olds...
And then we were back at it again on Friday morning -- starting with a 25 minute cardio strength training workout from this DVD. I love Denise Austin, and this is one of my all-time favorite DVDs. The workouts aren't too long or boring, but I definitely feel like I get a good sweat by the time they're done. This was a combo of strength training with light dumbbells and cardio to keep the heart rate up.
Casey spent a couple of hours at his friend Henry's farm for a playdate,
and I spent a couple of hours at home with my other two boys -- taking a business call, doing the laundry, prepping another batch of fudge pops for the freezer,
and making some Chilled Cucumber Yogurt Soup (from this cookbook) in an effort to use up some of the cucumbers that Casey keeps harvesting from the garden. Our summer squash hasn't done too well recently, but the cucumber crop is out of control. Do you sense a theme to my cooking? When the AC breaks during a heatwave, only COLD foods will do!
This turned out really well. With the yogurt, cucumber, garlic, and dill, it reminded me a lot of Tzatziki sauce (in soup form).
I made lunches for the car, and then we picked up Casey at noon and headed south to the Rockfish Valley to visit my parents at the new house that they built south of Charlottesville.
They're still settling in, but we had fun exploring the big open spaces, checking out the details that my parents spent months perfecting,
and swimming at the pool.
I picked up some Friday Night Pizza for dinner on the way home, which was quickly devoured!
Gibbs's request: a pretzel crust on the cheese pizza. Even he admitted that it was a bit too salty!?
I spent the rest of the evening on the couch with my laptop while Keith watched the old-school Patriot Games movie on television. Another wild and crazy Friday night!
Our Saturday morning was a mix of errands and house chores. I took the three boys to the farmer's market with me bright and early,
where we picked up:
His favorite part of the market...
Before lunch I baked a batch of "Green Monster Mini Muffins" after seeing a variety of recipes for spinach muffins on the web. I kind of made it up as I went along, basically following a typical banana bread recipe but adding a bag of spinach to the mix. Worked like a charm! I'm being completely honest when I say you CANNOT taste the spinach!
I figure it can't hurt to add some green to the boys' breakfast or snack, and these will freeze well for school lunchboxes in a couple of weeks, too. Since my blender was already sitting out on the counter from my morning smoothie, I just gave it a rinse and whipped up the batter in the blender -- no extra bowls or dishes required. These literally took me 10 minutes (max) to pull together. I will include the recipe below in case you want to try them, and here's proof that they're approved by all 3 boys! Spence was on his second mini muffin when I took this pic...and his brothers decided to photo bomb. Charming, I know.
Green Monster Blender Muffins
- 2 very ripe bananas
- ¾ cup milk
- ¼ cup melted butter
- 1 6 ounce bag baby spinach
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a muffin tin (or mini muffin tin) with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a blender, puree bananas, milk, melted butter, spinach, and vanilla until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the blender and make sure that there aren't any stray spinach leaves! You want it nice and smooth!
- Add brown sugar and egg to the blender. Mix until combined.
- Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt to the blender. Pulse until just combined and a smooth batter forms -- be careful not to overmix or you will have tough muffins.
- Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups.
- Bake mini muffins for about 15 minutes. If you make standard-size muffins, increase the baking time to 18-20 minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack.
After lunch I made a trip to Walmart to grab the ingredients for upcoming blog posts and freelance projects that I need to work on. Keith was in charge of the little guys and took them out for ice cream and a Pokemon hunt. I was just grateful for a solo shopping excursion!
That afternoon I made Demeter's No-Bake Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars for snack, which were a HUGE hit with the family. I used peanut butter instead of almond butter and mini M&M's instead of the chocolate chips. The boys said they taste just like their favorite Monster Cookies from the farmer's market. Recipe is definitely a keeper!
For dinner Keith grilled the steak and the corn from the farmer's market, while I made a salad on the side. The salad was just a random mix of veggies from the refrigerator: greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, and avocado. I loved the dressing, so here's the recipe for y'all!
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (I used a blueberry flavored vinegar, but regular will be great too)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
That salad shaker makes measuring and pouring the dressing easy!
I spent the rest of the evening ordering school supplies for the boys on Amazon (hooray for no crowded stores!), relaxing on the couch, and re-painting my nails. I'm on a roll! ?
Now it's Sunday morning and my only plans for the day involve my camera and a few new recipes! Check back next weekend to see how we spent our time, and in the meantime you can look forward to a new easy dinner idea tomorrow on the blog. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!