Happy Sunday, friends! I hope that you have all had a good weekend! It's time for another Weekend Recap, so let's back up to Labor Day...
If you read last week's recap, then you know that we had a late evening on Saturday night at my parent's house in Wintergreen. As a result, we moved pretty slowly on Sunday morning. I photographed a couple of recipes for the blog, Keith and the boys did some yard work, and then I went shopping at Target in the afternoon. A latte and a kid-free outing is basically like vacation, right?
I had a long list of items to pick up, but I also managed to snag a few extras (this is what happens when I have time to browse)! In my defense, the store had just put out all of the fall items, so it was even more exciting than usual. Highlights included a Cinnamon Pumpkin Muffin-scented candle,
this seasonal Apple Cider Donut Coffee (yessssss!),
and a new plum shade of my favorite Essie Gel Couture polish. It looks darker when it's on my nails, which I really like!
This little guy just couldn't fight it any longer and finally crashed on the couch for a nap before dinner.
We had an All-American family cook-out that evening -- courtesy of Keith! He grilled some Texas-style Beef BBQ ribs (which were delicious), and he even made an apple cider glaze to spray on them as they were cooking.
We served it with potato salad, corn from the farmer's market, and an arugula salad that included cucumber, tomato, avocado, and blue cheese.
We watched college football for awhile and went to bed early!
Since Monday was a holiday, I slept in (slightly) later than usual and waited to do a workout until after breakfast. I started with the first routine in the Fit for Fall Challenge, which is my Time-Saving Total Body Strength Workout. Loved that I could do it in my pajamas in the living room! And I also love how many of you are joining this 30-day challenge. Holy moly it's exploding! Best of all, you can start any time...so it's never too late. Just print out the check-list, stock your kitchen with healthy ingredients, and get going!
For lunches this week I had the Tuna Salad Pita Pockets from my cookbook, which I prepped on Sunday. Instead of the pita bread, though, I used Wasa crackers (leftover from this post). I also added guacamole to the crackers for some healthy fats and extra flavor!
I had an End-of-Summer Sweet Frog Date with Casey that afternoon,
prepped school lunches for the rest of the week (hooray!),
and pulled out some fall decorations. Maybe it's still 96 degrees here, but I'm ready for a new season. Now we just need to add some pumpkins and mum plants to the porch!
Dinner that evening was easy. Keith was gone for the night (at a fantasy football draft), so the boys and I had soup and salad. Chicken noodle for them, and Crab Bisque for me (leftover from my photo shoot the day before)!
I will share Aunt Bee's easy recipe soon!
And after putting the boys to bed that night, I parked it in front of Bachelor in Paradise and enjoyed every minute of the garbage television. ?
Oh, Tuesday. Such a big day! I sent my baby off to his first morning of preschool! Even though he only goes two mornings a week for 3 hours, this marked a major milestone for me (no more babies at home)! I was an emotional mess, but he marched right into that school and never really looked back...until about 30 minutes before pick-up time, when he apparently started crying and asking for his Mommy. I think the child was exhausted!
While Spence was at school, Mollie and I resumed our regular walking routine. Her son was back at school as well, so we were kid-free for the first time EVER. It was weird, but nice to have an uninterrupted conversation! It was also the perfect distraction for me so that I didn't have to go straight home and cry in an empty house.?
That evening we were back on the soccer fields for practice, so it was a late night. I threw dinner in the Crock Pot around 2:30 and it was ready and waiting for us when we got home -- Slow Cooker Italian Sausages with Onions and Bell Peppers (I served Keith's as a hoagie with melted cheese on top, and the boys had their sausages over pasta). Recipe is in my cookbook!
After dropping the kids off at school on Wednesday morning, Spencer just wanted to come home and drive his lawn mower. Back at the house, I poured myself a cup of coffee and opened this month's Degustabox. Once he saw what I was doing, I had a little shadow by my side, too. Spence has learned that there are always some delicious snacks inside!
Not familiar with Degustabox? Here’s a quick overview: when you sign up with Degustabox you receive 10-15 surprise products (many of which are new to the market) to try at home each month…for much less than you would pay in stores. Thanks to my friends at Degustabox for sharing these goodies with my family! We appreciate that it’s a good mix of items so that there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Want a peek at what was in this month’s box?
A full-size bag of popCORNers Carnival Kettle flavored popped corn chips: they're gluten-free, vegan, and perfectly salty and sweet!
Sparkling Bitters in Grapefruit Mint flavor (a calorie-free, sugar-free refreshing sparkling water with bitters), Entenmann's Little Bites chocolate chip mini-muffins (a great lunchbox treat), and two boxes of Michel et Augustin French butter cookies (perfect with my coffee)!
Toosum (a super-tasty, gluten-free oatmeal bar that's low in sugar, has no refined sugars, and no artificial anything --for just 100 calories), Zolli Drops (a sugar-free, vegan, and gluten-free treat that helps reduce tooth decay), and Sam Mills Gluten Free Corn Quinoa Fusilli pasta (a great option for anyone who suffers from wheat, soy, egg, dairy, tree nut, nut, fish and shell fish allergies).
Two different flavors of BustaNUT! peanuts -- Maple Bacon and Bourbon! Plus, Nando's PERi-PERi sauce. These are perfect for the Dad of the house!
Three special English spreads from The English Provender Co.: Luxury Lemon Curd, Caramelized Red Onion Chutney, and Sweet Tomato and Chili Chutney. I think the Lemon Curd is begging to be dolloped on the French butter cookies, while I will save the chutneys to use as easy appetizers with crackers and cheese for holiday entertaining!
Hak's Paks One Pot Rustic Ratatouille cooking sauce. The Degustabox also included a recipe idea for an easy pasta dinner using this sauce, which sounds really good!
So what did we dig into immediately? No surprise, Spence grabbed the bag of chocolate chip mini muffins and devoured them while I snapped these photos. He was in heaven!
And also not a surprise, I opened the bag of popCORNers because anything kettle corn-flavored has my name on it! I love the salty-sweet combo...and my coffee washed it all down. Tasty morning snack!
After our munchies, Spence and I then moved on to the next workout in my Fit for Fall 30-Day Challenge: this 12-Minute Yoga routine. My little guy loves yoga, so he was excited to join me...although I'm not sure that we lasted a full 12 minutes. He was easily distracted by his toy tractors after a few poses!
My mom stopped by later that morning on her way through town. We went out for a quick shopping trip at The Wooly Lam, where we found all sorts of treasures including a Railroad Crossing Sign that Spence just HAD to have.
Lunch at Subway!
My friend Jackie brought Spencer a slow moving vehicle plate from a real tractor, which he has been asking for for ages (and now he wants it attached to his own little tractor). Who needs toys when you can play with farm equipment?!
For dinner that night I pulled out a freezer meal! This was Cheesy Chicken and Zucchini Quinoa Casserole, which I prepped last month when we ate the meal for the first time. It's great, and a few of you have asked for the recipe. Let me know if you want me to email it to you -- I'm planning a blog post with the full recipe at some point, but I'm happy to send you the recipe in the meantime if you want it sooner! I served it with breadsticks and steamed broccoli. Super easy!
Spence returned to preschool on Thursday morning for day #2. There were a few tears shed (by him!), but we both survived three hours apart. I went for a walk with my friends Mollie and Amanda, and then took advantage of a solo grocery shopping trip.
Look! No kids in my cart!
When we returned home, I started preparing a dessert for dinner that evening while Spence ate his lunch. It was Keith's birthday, so we wanted to treat him to some Cheesecake Bars. Hooray for a boxed mixed from my friends at King Arthur Flour, because otherwise I wouldn't have attempted a cheesecake on my own. That kind of baking intimidates me!
These bars turned out perfectly, and we added our own touch by finishing them with a blueberry sauce. I just combined fresh blueberries with warmed blueberry preserves and topped the bars right before serving. Delicious, and a major two thumbs up from the Birthday Boy!
When Spence saw me baking, he wanted to help -- even if he was in the middle of eating his lunch.
Stirring the crumbs for the crust. Love my little assistant!
For dinner that night Keith requested quesadillas, so that's what we had! It's a meal that everyone loves, and it only took a few minutes to make. Unfortunately, Keith had to work late so he ended up eating his meal (and dessert) on his own after Spencer had gone to bed. We joined him in the kitchen to chat and eat dessert, though!
On Friday morning I felt so discombobulated. I slept through my alarm, which rarely happens, but I guess I really needed the sleep! Instead of a trip to the gym, I decided that a walk with Spencer would be perfect after dropping the older two boys off at school.
Well, it turns out that our walk didn't really happen either! It was already hot and muggy, the bugs were bad, and Spence just was NOT feeling it. We called it quits after a few minutes and headed home. Thanks to a cold and a week of no napping (plus the trauma of preschool), this little guy just wanted to come home and rest.
While he watched the movie Cars, I prepared dinner for us to enjoy that evening and then just kept it wrapped in the fridge to bake later. We also made some Rice Krispies treats for a fun snack! So easy, but always SO good!
For dinner that night we had Chili Crescent Roll Bake -- which was deeeeelicious. Can't wait to share it with you! It wasn't exactly appropriate for a 100-degree day, but I've moved on to cool weather food for the blog, so that's what we're eating now too! A salad on the side finished the meal.
We spent most of Saturday on the soccer fields for our first weekend of games. Casey played at 9:00 here in Madison, and then we jumped in the car and drove 40 minutes west to Sperryville for Gibbs's game. We packed picnic lunches for the road, as well as TONS of water. It was SO hot out there, you guys. Incredible humidity and 100-degree heat drained all of us by the time we got home at 2:00. But the kids did well and had fun, so we'll keep our fingers crossed for cooler temps next weekend.
We spent the rest of our Saturday afternoon quietly at home -- laundry, rehydrating, and working on this post! We picked up pizza for dinner, and then spent the evening watching football and reading quality literature...
And that brings me to this morning! I'm planning a trip into Charlottesville for a Costco run, but otherwise our schedule is pretty clear. I'll report back on our adventures in the next recap. Have a great week, friends!