Happy Sunday, friends! We officially finished up our school year here and we're ready for the first week of summer vacation (wish me luck with all 3 boys at home all.day.every.day!) ? But before we get ahead of ourselves, how about another Weekend Recap? These are the photos that I caught on my phone over the course of the past 7 days...starting with last Sunday, when we hosted a big cookout for Memorial Day!
Keith grilled hamburgers and barbecue chicken, and our friends brought tons of amazing sides and desserts. The food and the company was PERFECT!
Our primary task on Monday was planting the gardens! We waited a bit later than usual since we had such a cold and wet spring, but the temps are finally back to normal, the sun is shining, and we've now got a variety of tomatoes, herbs, cucumbers, zucchini, and squash in the ground. Nothing crazy, but the basics are covered!
Spence is supervising!?
Memorial Day dinner was leftover barbecue chicken from the party, corn on the cob, and my Red, White and Blueberry Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette. I didn't have fresh blueberries on hand, so you just see the strawberries here (nuts were added right before serving),
but we got our "blue" from the Blueberry Balsamic Vinegar that I used for the dressing. ? Casey picked some fresh basil from our newly-planted garden to add to the dressing, too!
I was back in the gym on Tuesday morning for a 30-minute workout with Mark. We started it off RIGHT with some burpees (oof!), and also did some old-school deadlifts. Deadlifts aren't fancy, but they're the perfect exercise to strengthen the entire core and rear (especially during beach season)!
My mom joined us for the day to celebrate Aunt Barbara's birthday. We took a hot and steamy walk at our favorite local spot -- Grelen Nursery...
enjoyed a delicious lunch from Grelen's cafe, and then returned home for gifts. Barb got books, clothes, and a new Lululemon yoga mat. What more could a gal ask for?!
When we arrived home from picking up Gibbs at school, we had the BEST kind of mail delivery waiting for us: a big, heavy package full of food! The kind folks at Degustabox offered to send me one of their boxes to try, and of course I said, "YES!" Plus, I figured that you might like to check it out, too...
So here's the deal with Degustabox: the company has been up and running in 5 different European countries, and now it is officially launching in the U.S. Each month the company surprises customers with fun and tasty food -- right at your door. It's a great way to discover new flavors and break the habit of buying the same old items, since each box includes at least 10 awesome full-size products (for much less than you would pay in a store). So there's no shopping necessary, AND you save money. Sounds like a win-win to me!
The box includes a summary list of all of the products inside, which gives a brief overview of each individual item. There were also a few coupons that I can use to purchase some of my favorite products at a discount in the future...
So what was inside? The boys and I were so excited to check it out that the box didn't even make it in the house! ? Hey, it was snack time and we were hungry!
I instantly grabbed one of the bags of Cinnabon cinnamon roll flavored Wise popcorn (delicious, and I would definitely buy it again)...
while candy-loving Casey couldn't wait to get his hands on the Haribo Sour Gold-Bears (the best kind of gummy bears ever made)!
I also received a full-size bottle of Brianna's Italian Vinaigrette Dressing (and a pasta salad recipe to go along with it). This is a new flavor, so I'm excited to taste it...the classic Breanna's Poppyseed dressing is AH-MAZING and it's what I use in Meghan's 4-Ingredient Party Salad. I bet this version is equally tasty!
The box included 3 packets of Vita Coco organic Coconut Oil,
Jif Cinnamon Peanut Butter (oh, my!!!) ?,
two bottles of sparkling water (already devoured during the hot week we had!),
Orchard Valley Cashews and Cranberry Almond Cashew Trail Mix (perfect for snacking on the go and summer road trips!),
a container of Elmhurst Harvest chocolate almond milk,
a bottle of Soy Vay Teriyaki Sauce (ideal for marinating grilled chicken or making my Healthy Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken),
and a bag of Honees Cough Drops (an all-natural option that's filled with pure liquid honey).
Pretty great stuff, right?! Such a fun service and I would definitely recommend that you give it a try -- or share it as a gift. You can grab more info about Degustabox HERE if you're curious!
Dinner that evening was an oldie-but-goodie: Linguine with Clam Sauce! I don't know why I don't make this more often...all of the boys love it, it's FAST, and it uses pantry staples. Such a winner!
I also made another kohlrabi salad because we liked the one that we had last week so much!
Dessert was chocolate cupcakes from Barbara's birthday (made by my mom, with the famous Spencer family recipe for rich chocolate frosting)!
Mid-morning snack on Wednesday before heading out the door -- toast with Cinnamon Peanut Butter (another great find from Degustabox!),
and Spencer's Toddler Time open-house at the preschool (it's all good...as long as I don't try to leave!)...
Do any of my other fellow 90's children remember these multi-colored pens? I had to pick up a couple for the boys when I saw them at the dollar store! I remember writing notes to friends with these things in middle school, and now Casey is having fun writing with them too. So funny!
Afternoon entertainment included a round of Star Wars-themed Guess Who? with Gibbs (another blast from my past!), and a few minutes of play with a cheap beach ball that popped in less time than it took me to blow it up (that popping might have something to do with my boys' rough play, though)!
Keith was away that night, so the kids requested a dinner favorite: No-Bake Pizzas (yep, totally odd!)...they're actually like those Pizza Lunchables that you can buy at the grocery store, but I just make our own version at home (saves money and it's definitely healthier). They build their own pizzas with whole wheat pitas, sauce, and cheese...and then eat them without baking. Like I said, it's weird...but they love it and I don't have to cook -- so it's a win-win! I just had leftovers from the night before with a salad on the side.
Oh...and just so that you don't think that dinnertime is always dreamy around here...Spence spent the entire meal crying in his seat because I wouldn't let him go outside to ride on his tractor. He refused to take a bite of food, threw his milk across the counter, and sat screaming until we were all finished and I would let him down. We are SO DEFINITELY a "Terrible Two" right now! ? He's was over-tired since he refused to nap that afternoon, so needless to say, the child was in bed by 6:30 p.m. that night!
After a morning of errands, Spence finally gave up the fight and succumbed to a nap on Thursday after lunch...before I could even drag him upstairs! ?
Meanwhile, Casey tended to business outside. He takes this job very seriously!
Dinner was a good one! I made a Chicken Penne Casserole with Corn and Zucchini (recipe coming soon)...perfect for summer and a big hit with the kids! Plus, it's healthy!
On the side we had a salad with the extra corn and zucchini, as well as grape tomatoes, bell pepper, and avocado. It was just as good as the main dish!
I squeezed in a quick workout with Mark at the gym on Friday morning, where he made a regular ol' squat even harder by adding a lot of weight. We did 3 sets of 10 reps, and it was definitely a challenge! I love that these workouts are only about 20-30 minutes, but I leave feeling energized and accomplished -- knowing that I've worked hard and done something good for myself. Mark definitely keeps us moving the entire time, so it's an efficient way to get a lot done. Perfect way to start the day!
We started the last-day-of-school celebration early with a stop at the Strite's Donut Truck on the way to school that morning. They park at Yoder's Country Market every Friday, so it seemed like an appropriate time to treat the boys!
Fresh, warm glazed donuts the size of their heads for their second breakfast of the day! The pastries were so big, in fact, that even my donut-loving kids cried mercy before finishing them!
After dropping Gibbs off for the morning, the younger boys and I headed into the woods for a "gem mining" expedition in the Rapidan River.
There is seriously NOTHING that makes them happier than wading through water looking for rocks...
This girl had a trip to the vet,
and then we picked up Gibbs at noon for an early dismissal. Spence was starving, so my emergency snack stash came in handy -- popcorn from Degustabox for the win!
And Gibbs's only request after finishing the school year? Lunch at Subway (of course)!
Keith mowed the grass that evening, and I picked up carry-out dinner from Pie in the Sky while a fresh strawberry crisp baked in the oven for dessert! I've got my priorities...
Isn't it the best feeling when you have multiple good books to look forward to? Here's what's currently on my nightstand:
I'm in the middle of Sweetbitter right now, which I'm really enjoying. My mom passed along the old-school Martha Stewart cookbook that she didn't want anymore, as well as The Summer Before the War, which was on my list of 20 Best Beach Reads for this season. She said that The Summer Before the War was great, so I'm excited to dive into it soon. I've heard many, many good things about Bread & Wine as well, so I finally just went ahead and bought it for myself. I'll share more details when I get through all of them!
Saturday morning started with this sweaty 30-minute treadmill walking workout, as well as a trip to the Farmer's Market.
This week's haul included:
- Sugar snap peas
- Salad greens
- Green onions
- A cucumber plant
- Heirloom tomatoes
Later that morning I used the asparagus from the market to make my simple Asparagus Salad to have with dinner, as well another Strawberry Crisp -- because I decided that the one we had on Friday night needs to be shared with all of you! Recipe coming soon...
In addition to the parsley called for in the original recipe, I also added a ton of other herbs from our garden (including a lemon basil that's AWESOME)!
While I was in the kitchen, the boys played a game of Star Wars Battleship with Keith...
So, so competitive! ?
I made a quick run out to Yoder's to get some country ham, as well as some of the BEST vanilla ice cream (from Trickling Springs Creamery up in Pennsylvania). You can't have strawberry crisp without vanilla ice cream!
For dinner Keith grilled a Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin (recipe coming!!), which the boys loved. I served it with some corn muffins that I had stashed in the freezer, as well as the asparagus salad,
and a Strawberry-Feta-Avocado Kale Salad. In addition to the greens, feta cheese, strawberries, and avocado, I added some green onions, chopped snap peas, and fresh dill. I dressed it with a Lemon Tahini dressing that I quickly mixed together. Easy, fresh, and so delicious!
And there you have it! Another week in the books! We have plenty of plans on the calendar for the week ahead, so I'll keep these boys BUSY and out of trouble (hopefully). Happy Summer!