Good morning and happy Sunday! We've had another eventful week around here...shall we jump right into the Weekend Recap?
I started last Sunday with a quick 10-minute power yoga routine from this DVD before the rest of the house woke up. It's an oldie-but-goodie!
Keith and the boys were working outside most of the morning, so I spent some time in the kitchen. I made a few recipes for the blog, snapped photos, and did a new Slow Cooker Freezer Meal prep session (which I will share soon).
Since our air conditioning was still broken and the new units had not yet been installed, I was hot and sweaty most of the day...and I managed to NOT turn on my oven once!
I love to put this granola in yogurt for snacks or on top of my thick eat-with-a-spoon smoothies for breakfast during the week.
That afternoon I prepped our dinner while the boys "napped" (except that they didn't actually sleep). I used this Teriyaki sauce (also from last month's Degustabox) to marinate shrimp for a few hours before threading them onto skewers, which Keith grilled later that evening. They were SO delicious, and the kids loved them too.
I paired the grilled shrimp with the Chilled Sesame Noodles from this cookbook, which I brought home from my parents' beach house when we were there last month. So many nostalgic Vineyard recipes to work my way through!
I added cucumbers from the garden and it totally hit the spot on a warm evening. The sauce was a mix of tahini, peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, and garlic. I left out the cayenne to keep it kid-friendly. Topped with chives and toasted sesame seeds!
I was wiped out by the end of the day (typical), so after putting the boys to sleep I sat and read one of my fave magazines before crashing in bed...
I started Monday with a workout at the gym. Mark had all sorts of crazy exercises crammed into this 30-minute session, but this one was particularly good: Sideways Medicine Balls Throws on the BOSU Trainer. It seriously hit all of the major muscles because I was twisting, throwing, and balancing. I missed the trampoline target (more than once) and fell off of the BOSU (more than once), but I was laughing (and sweating) the whole time, so isn't that the goal?!
Casey went to Aidan's farm to play for the morning, while I took Spence and Gibbs to Yoder's to pick up a few groceries (turkey, raw honey, and cinnamon)! We always have to stop and visit the goats first, though...
When we got back home, I took care of some chores...including work in the garden. SEND HELP!! We're drowning in cucumbers! We love cucumbers, but this is getting ridiculous. This was just Monday's "harvest" -- and we're bringing in about 6 or 7 of these GIANT cucumbers each day. Recipe ideas, anyone?
I also put dinner in the slow cooker, which was my best friend while waiting for our AC to get fixed (no hot ovens allowed)! I made my ancient recipe for Slow Cooker Balsamic Beef Hoagies, which were featured in Taste of Home's Simple and Delicious magazine this month.
When I saw the article I was reminded of this favorite meal that I haven't made in awhile. The sandwiches were perfect for that evening because Keith was working late and I could just prepare his sandwich separately when he got home.
When I arrived at Aidan's to pick up Casey, I found him in the creek. Does he look happy or what? Casey is totally in his element here. Muddy, wet, and outside! Just like little boys should be during summer vacation...
My friend Gabrielle was so clever -- she made "water sampling science kits" for the boys using some of her empty face cream, makeup, and serum bottles. She put them in little bags and had the boys taking "water samples" from the stream with their eyedroppers. Such a fun idea, so I thought I'd share...
Gabrielle also happens to be a professionally-trained French chef, so you know what Casey ate for lunch at her house? White Truffle Pasta! He loved it (of course). I told him not to get used to that -- it likely won't be served in my house any time soon! ? Lucky boy!
And hey! Speaking of lucky...look what arrived that afternoon! This month's Degustabox!! We all get excited for this delivery now...
If you're unfamiliar 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 the 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?
First, Gibbs saw these Popchips Potato Ridges and instantly grabbed them. He then proceeded to finish the bag about 10 minutes later (and yes...at least he shared a few chips with his brothers). I'll definitely buy more!
And Casey (with his massive sweet tooth) went right for the Mini Cow Tales. These are a blast from the past, since I remember eating them as a child (but I haven't seen them in years). As the mom, I love that these are the MINIATURE size (and individually wrapped). Spence and Casey both ate them right away!
Personally, I was excited about the Chai Tea Latte mix packets (which can also be made into iced tea) and the ALO Allure Pulp Free juice, which is a blend of aloe vera, mangosteen, and mango. Exotic -- and something new to try!
Something else new to me? This White Lily Grape and Wheat Flour. It's an equal replacement for all-purpose wheat flour, so I can use it in just about any of my favorite baking recipes. The Degustabox also included a couple of new recipes to try using this flour, so we might have to give those a shot.
These snack-size meat sticks are a great protein option on-the-go and in lunch boxes (Keith ate a couple as soon as he saw them),
this Chipotle Mayo will be a tasty addition to sandwiches,
and the Goya Maria Cookies are a tasty new find! They're buttery biscuits that are just slightly sweet, so they would pair perfectly with a cup of coffee or tea. My boys LOVE them, so I'm sure I'll be purchasing another package soon. These are a great example of discovering a new favorite product via Degustabox that I wouldn't otherwise buy on my own.
And NOBODY in this house will argue with some chocolate!
We also got this full-size box of Honey Bunches of Oats Strawberry cereal. BIG HIT. Keith and Spence eat Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds almost every morning, so I knew they would like it...
but Casey and I also had it for snack that afternoon and really enjoyed it too! I ate my cereal on top of a bowl of 2% plain Greek yogurt with fresh sliced strawberries and coconut almonds. SO YUM. And P.S. -- the box is already gone now!
Along with our beef hoagies, I made Zucchini Noodles for supper since the kids have been asking for them (and we had a few from the garden to enjoy)...
I just saute the zucchini noodles in a large skillet in a little bit of melted butter and garlic. I season with salt, pepper, fresh basil, and fresh chives. Cook for about 2-5 minutes, or until soft (but not mushy). Delicious!
Dessert? The Goya cookies from our Degustabox (duh)! All of the kids were asking for more...
And after the boys were in bed, Keith and I settled in to watch the season finale of The Bachelorette. No spoilers here...but we stayed up WAY past our bedtime to watch all of it!
Tuesday was wide open on our calendar, so I hit the gym for Mark's Boot Camp class bright and early. We ran errands later that morning, including dropping off some paperwork at the primary school for Casey's kindergarten registration. It's real!
We stopped at the dollar store,
and had popcorn for snack at the boys' request. Still love our air popper, but this time I forgot to put the little lid on top and we had a popcorn explosion all over the counter a few seconds later. Oops...
Poor Casey got two bee stings on his neck while playing outside, which was just icing on the cake considering he is currently covered in poison ivy from head to toe. Given how much time he spends outdoors, I'm actually pleasantly surprised that this is just his second batch of P.I. all season. We're getting really good at slathering this stuff on all of his limbs...
Dinner that evening was one of my go-to easy meals that I know everyone will love: 3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos. It hardly requires a recipe: just place about 1.5 lbs. of boneless, skinless chicken in a slow cooker (I prefer thighs for the Crock Pot, but I used breast meat that night because it's what I had on hand). Sprinkle with seasoning (I used about 1 tablespoon of Ranch seasoning for "Ranch Chicken Tacos" since I had the packet already open, but I have also used taco seasoning or just salt and pepper on other occasions). Pour a 16 ounce bottle of salsa or taco sauce on top, cover, and cook on low for about 4 hours. Shred the chicken, stir it into the sauce in the pot, and serve in tortillas (or over salad). We top our tacos with shredded cheese, and I served guacamole and veggies for dipping on the side. Definitely a family favorite!
We tried to watch the first episode of Bachelor in Paradise that evening after the kids went to bed, but Keith actually turned it off because it was such a train wreck. Undecided whether or not I'll keep at it this season! Classy, I know.
On Wednesday morning Maggie and I were back at the gym with Mark for another tough workout, which included crawling while pulling the Ultimate Sandbags. It's never boring, that's for sure!
I returned home for a quick shower and the breakfast rounds before we embraced the arrival of these guys at 7:15 a.m.:
The installation of our new HVAC system took a full 2 days, but we're back up and running with air conditioning now. Hooray!
While the men worked, Spence spent a lot of time "supervising,"
and around 9:00 Casey's buddies arrived for a play date. It was a busy house with 5 boys + multiple workers + a dog! I fed the whole crew lunch, we painted birdhouses, and the kids enjoyed a cooler day outside.
Since he refused to nap in his room while all of the action was going on in the house, by 4:00 p.m. Spence couldn't fight it any longer...
I made an easy dinner using up some ingredients that I had on hand. I had part of a jar of pasta sauce in the refrigerator and half of a bag of these meatballs leftover from my work with the company on this post, so I simmered the meatballs in the sauce and cooked spaghetti to go with them. Another meal that didn't require a hot oven!
On the side we had a big garden salad to use up veggies from the yard!
While the pasta boiled I also made snack-size jars of Peach Cobbler Overnight Oats to stick in the refrigerator for the next couple of days. Tis the season!
Keith mowed grass late that night after dinner, so I crawled in bed early to read my new book and watch the CMA Country Music Festival. Zzz...
Thursday morning started early again when I grabbed an apple and some coffee so that I could meet Maggie at the gym for a 30-minute easy elliptical workout while we chatted the entire time. We have both decided that the exercise and the social time (even at 5:30 a.m.) works wonders for stress levels throughout the day!
Later that morning I needed to go to the grocery store, but I know better than to bring 3 energetic boys shopping without exercise first. We made a pit stop at the playground on our way,
but had to leave after about 30 minutes because it started to rain.
I picked up food for the week,
and then headed home for lunch. We ate quickly but then had to run back out to go to Charlottesville for a doctor's appointment for Spencer. We thought that he might be allergic to bee stings since he has had some major swelling after recent bites, but it turns out he does not. Benadryl will just continue to be our good friend during the summer months!
We made it home from town in time for a late afternoon swim date at the pool with my friend Kerrin and her three kids,
and then hustled home for dinner with Keith. I had put one of my Crock Pot freezer meals in the slow cooker earlier that afternoon because I knew we'd be gone most of the day. We came home to Korean Beef Tacos that were ready and waiting for us! I garnished them with toasted sesame seeds and fresh chives, then served them with rice and broccoli on the side. YUM!
Friday morning was gray and rainy, so while Casey went to Henry's farm to play with his buddies...
I took advantage of having just 2 kids with me and made the drive to Culpeper for a Target run. We had a couple of school supplies that I still needed to pick up (among other things). We swung through the kids' clothing section and ended up spending quite awhile picking out some new back-to-school clothes for the older boys. It was the first time that Gibbs has really expressed an interest in shopping for his own clothes and he seemed really excited about his choices. While they weren't necessarily what I would have picked for him, it's fun to see his personality come out!
Meanwhile, this kid just wanted to climb all over EVERYTHING and take all of the folded clothes off of the shelves.
We had a quiet afternoon at home and picked up our regular Friday Night Pizza for supper that evening.
We put Spence to bed early because he had skipped his nap earlier in the day, so Gibbs and Casey watched a Lego documentary on Amazon TV called "Brickumentary" while I painted my nails. Can you tell that the kids picked out the color while we were shopping at Target??
We met Mollie and Henry at the farmer's market bright and early on Saturday morning. The boys were treated to warm glazed donuts that our neighbor had just made, and then we walked over to the nearby playground to run off some of the sugar!
Mollie and I had big plans for a workout together, which was successful (to a certain degree), although I did have to take numerous breaks to break up spats between my boys. We'll call them "water breaks." Here's what we did:
And thanks to Mollie, I even have some photos to show you the exercises:
10 step-ups per leg on a bench or slide:
10 push-ups on the ground or incline push-ups on a bench:
10 pikes on a swing:
10 tricep dips on a bench or slide:
10 low squats on a bench, step, or slide:
10 "box jumps" onto a step, bench, or slide:
Repeat the circuit 3 times for a sweaty workout!
We took a late afternoon walk in the woods before the thunderstorms rolled in,
and ate the world's easiest dinner: Dump-and-Bake Cider-Glazed Chicken (can't wait to share the recipe with you this week!) + Mac and Cheese + veggies from the garden.
I parked myself on the couch to watch the Olympics last night, and that brings us to today! We are headed to Richmond for a little adventure, so be sure to check back next weekend for the full details. Talk soon!