Sunday, December 16, 2018

Keeping up with...Family (Weekly Wrap 12/7 - 12/13)

Friday (12/7) We made it to the end of another week, just barely!  The past week has been busy and tough but we all survived.  Today we got up on time and Adrian and AJ left for school and work while the rest of us got ready.  We headed into school and were surprised to find out that I was subbing for Zak's teacher all day.  We had a pretty good day together, and got to end the day enjoying a puppet show together.  After school we came home and had a little downtime before getting ready for our night activities.
I made us baked ziti for dinner and then Zak and I headed out together for the night.  He had wrestling practice and I ran a few errands while he was there.  He did really well and will be wrestling in his first tournament this weekend.  After practice, he and I headed across the street to his pack's committee meeting.  He did a great job playing quietly while I participated in the meeting.  While we were out, Adrian took AJ and Daniel to church for AJ's basketball game.  He played well and had fun!  When we all finally got home, the boys watched a show and then headed to bed.  Adrian and I finished a few things around the house, opened our bottle of wine and watched two comedies before heading to bed too.  We were both exhausted!!
Saturday (12/8) We were all up and moving early, the boys decided not to sleep in and Adrian and I both had early commitments.  He headed to the church to help set up the meal packing event at the church while I got ready for Zumba class.  We had an awesome time in Zumba and then most of us headed into the meal packing event, although they were just about done when we got there.  AJ and Daniel were able to help out to pack a few meals and the rest of us helped with clean up.  After the event, I headed home with the boys while Adrian stayed at the church for Crossover basketball evaluations.  I dropped Zak back off later for his evaluations.  Adrian helped with both the boys and the girls evaluations and said that Zak did a great job.

After all of that, we met at Daniel and Zak's school for their Holiday Happenings event.  The boys had fun playing games, seeing friends and visiting with characters while Adrian and I enjoyed lunch from the food truck that was there.  It was a fun family event and a nice way to get our annual Santa picture.  After we finished at the event, we headed home to catch our breath and rest for a while before heading out one more time tonight to see "The Polar Express" in the movie theater.  It was so fun!  I didn't remember most of the movie since I've only seen it once so it was like a new movie to me.  The boys enjoyed it too!!  When the movie was over, we came home, got the boys to bed and opened our bottle of wine for the night.  We enjoyed the wine while watching a few comedies before heading to bed.
Sunday (12/9) The day started a little earlier than we would have liked for a weekend.  Adrian and Zak got up early and headed out to Zak's first wrestling tournament.  The other boys woke me up around 7:30 because they needed help with different things.  We had a relaxing morning at home and then headed to second service at church.  After church we came home and worked on our to do list to get ready for another busy week.  Adrian and Zak came home and we found out that Zak opted not to wrestle.  He was scared when he saw what it looked like and said he needs more practice.  So they watched a few people wrestle and then headed home.

We spent most of the afternoon watching football and working around the house.  I am excited that the Jets finally won another game!  I took a break this afternoon to go to my friend's house for a craft party.  I made a "Home" sign and also won another small sign as a door prize.  It was a fun afternoon and break in a busy time of the year.  When I got home, we had dinner together and then got ready for a family movie night.  We watched "The Christmas Chronicles" while enjoying the popcorn treat that our elf brought for us.  It was a super cute movie and we all really enjoyed it!  When the movie was over, we got the boys down to bed and then came down to watch the end of the Cowboys game.  It was super exciting and we were both so glad that they won!!  When the game was over, we finished up a few things, watched a comedy and headed to bed to rest up for the week.
Monday (12/10) Back to the grind today after the busy weekend.  We got up and moving on time this morning and Adrian and AJ headed out to school and work.  Thankfully Zak slept in a little today, he really needed the rest.  I got them up and out to school and then came home and had about two hours to myself to get some stuff done around the house.  It's always amazing how much I can get done when I'm focused and by myself.  Then I got cleaned up and headed out to meet my friend for a wine tasting at Cooper's Hawk and then lunch Bon Vie at Easton.  We had a great time drinking, eating, chatting and laughing.  It was really nice to take some time to just relax today!

When we got home, it was time to get the boys home from school.  They had some free time then we started to get ready for the evening events.  We finished homework and AJ had leftover tacos for dinner.  Daniel, Zak and I headed out to my small group and enjoyed pizza for dinner with them.  The adults had a great conversation upstairs while the kids did a craft downstairs.  While we were there, Adrian took AJ to Scouts.  When we all got home, we started working our way thru all of the Christmas shows we have on our DVR with "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" which seems pretty silly to me and Adrian but the boys like it.  We watched half of that and then the boys went to bed, Adrian and I had our bottle of wine and watched a few comedies and headed to bed too.
Tuesday (12/11) Today started way too early when Zak came in to wake me up at 3:30am.  I dozed a little here and there until it was time to get up but it's going to be a long day!  Adrian and AJ got up and ready and out to work and school.  I got the other kids ready and dropped them off at school.  Then I headed to Harcum to teach my 3 classes for the day.  I ran a few errands between classes and headed into Zak's class when I was done to volunteer and review sight words with the kids.  I was planning on taking the day off from volunteering, but Zak really wanted me to come in so I did.
When school was over we came home and relaxed for a bit.  Then I got everyone thru homework and dinner before heading out with Zak to wrestling.  He had a great practice and learned a lot.  I ran to Aldi while he was practicing to get another thing crossed off my giant to do list.  I picked him up after practice and we headed home for the night.  The boys played for a bit and then we got them ready for bed.  They watched the end of "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" and then headed to bed.  Adrian and I opened our next bottle of wine, watched a few comedies and headed to bed too.  Hoping for longer sleep tonight!!

Wednesday (12/12) Thankfully we all got a great night of sleep last night!!  Adrian and AJ got up and headed out to school and work together.  I had to practically drag Zak out of bed, he was really tired after being up so long yesterday.  I got the three of us up and ready and out to school on time.  I was subbing all day, but it was two half day assignments.  I started the day in 3rd grade and had an easy morning with two trips to the library.  Then I was the music teacher the rest of the afternoon and had a lot of fun with that!  When school was over, I rushed out with the boys, picked up AJ and we headed over to our dentist appointment.  They got all four of us done and only Zak has a cavity that we need to come back for, yay!

When we were done at the dentist, we came home and started our night routine.  We had dinner, finished homework and the boys played while I tried to catch up on some dishes and laundry.  Daniel wasn't feeling well and we decided that he and I should stay home tomorrow.  So I figured out subs for my classes, rearranged a few things and set him up with water and a blanket to rest. I'm hoping whatever he has is short lived and he keeps it to himself!  We watched Charlie Brown Christmas as a family and then I got the boys down for the night.  I came down and had my bottle of wine for advent and watched some mindless reality TV.  Adrian was working late but thankfully was able to come home around 7 for the night.  He worked until almost midnight, but thankfully he was home so he enjoyed some wine and then headed to bed as soon as he was done.

Thursday (12/13) We all had another good night of sleep and I had a lighter morning since Daniel and I are staying home.  I got AJ up and ready so Adrian could get a little extra sleep.  Then he got up and ready and took AJ to school before heading to work for the day.  I dropped Zak off and then came home to hang out with Daniel for the day.  He rested and watched TV all day while I got a bunch of stuff done around the house.  The day passed quickly and uneventfully and before I knew it, it was time to walk up to pick up Zak and then drive over to pick up AJ after Model UN.

Adrian got stuck working late again so I had to cancel my Zumba class tonight too to stay home with Daniel.  He thankfully got home in time for me to take AJ to his last Crossover basketball game tonight.  He played really well and had a few great defensive plays.  He won the focus award for his great sportsmanship and cheering for his teammates throughout the season.  He wants to keep playing basketball so we'll see what we can find for him.  When we got home from basketball, we watched the Charlie Brown Christmas shorts and then the boys went to bed.  Adrian was still working so we watched the Chargers/Chiefs game while he worked and I cleaned up the house.  I headed up to bed well before he did since I have another busy day tomorrow!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Keeping up with...Family (Weekly Wrap 11/30 - 12/6)

Friday (11/30) We are wrapping up another week with a super busy Friday on tap.  We all got up and moving on time and Adrian drove AJ to school and then headed to work.  I got the other boys up and ready and then we headed into school together.  I was subbing in Zak's class today and he was super excited to spend the day with me.  I was also able to drop them off at library and sneak down to Daniel's class to read them a quick book to wrap up right to read week.  They were all excited to hear a new to them Pete the Cat book.  Unfortunately, it was a rough day in Zak's class.  But we survived and put it behind us!
After school, I was exhausted and we still had to get ready for a busy night.  I pulled some leftovers together for everyone for dinner then headed out to the church to work as the facility rep for the night. I brought AJ and Daniel with me since AJ had basketball and Zak had wrestling.  Adrian took Zak to wrestling then came over to coach AJ's basketball game.  It was a super busy night for all of us!!  When we all finally got home, we got the boys to bed, had some wine and headed to bed ourselves.  Hoping for a relaxing weekend after a rough Friday!!

Saturday (12/1) The day started a little earlier than I wanted it to when Zak came in around 6am to wake me up to find out where Dad was.  Adrian had already left for his early morning small group so I had to get up with Zak.  I hung out with him and had some coffee before getting ready to head to the church to teach Zumba.  I had a great class with 5 of my friends from the Y joining me for class to visit.  We had fun dancing together and then some of us went out to brunch together too.  Such a great way to start my weekend!!
While I was out with my friends, Adrian took the boys to Home Depot to do their wood craft for this week.  They had fun making their own sled with a reindeer pulling it.  They were excited to come home and add them to our decorations.  They also picked up a few things we needed, including khaki pants for AJ to wear in his band concert later this week.  When they got home, we got a few things done around the house while the boys played video games.  Then we had a quick, light dinner and got ready for a busy night.
Zak's finished sled
Daniel's finished sled
AJ's finished sled
We headed out for our magical night of Christmas fun.  We started by stopping to mail the boys' letters to Santa at the local Santa mail box.  They should get a return letter in the next week or so.  Then we headed to the movie theater to see "Elf" on the big screen.  We all enjoyed it as always, laughing so hard at some points we were crying.  The boys enjoyed eating popcorn and the ring pops that their elf, Doctor Donkey, brought for them this morning.  When we got home, we did their normal bedtime routine and then Adrian and I watched the Big 10 championship while starting on our wine advent calendar.  I'm glad OSU won the game, even if I didn't make it to the end!    
Sunday (12/2) We all slept in a little and enjoyed our morning at home before heading to second service at church.  We got a surprise when AJ bit into a cookie and lost a tooth!  The boys enjoyed their time in children's church while Adrian and I went to our service.  After service we came home and got to work around the house.  The boys finished up their homework for the weekend and Adrian and I worked on our to do lists.  He took AJ out to get shoes for his band concert this week and while they were out shopping, AJ confessed he knew we were Santa.  They had a good conversation about it and then AJ and I did later too.  The day passed quickly and soon it was time for our evening activities.  Adrian took Daniel and Zak to their last martial arts class until January while I took AJ to his One8ty Christmas party.  We had fun playing games, doing a white elephant exchange and eating some yummy food.  When we got home we did their normal night time routine, watched the Jets lose and finished our second bottle for our advent calendar.  It was a productive and relaxing Sunday.
Monday (12/3) Back to the grind today after the weekend.  Adrian drove AJ to school while I got the other boys ready and we all headed out together.  I was subbing all day in the school so we went in together for the day.  Daniel and Zak headed to their classes and I had a great day with a group of second graders.  When school was over, we headed home together to get ready for our busy night.  But when we got home, we were all really tired and a little stressed so we decided to skip small group tonight so Daniel, Zak and I could stay home for the night.  We still got quickly thru dinner and then had pasta for dinner.  When Adrian got home, he took AJ to Scouts for the night while the rest of us stayed home and relaxed.  When everyone was home for the night, we did the boys' nighttime routine and got them down to bed.  Daniel hit a big milestone before bed and read for 1,000 minutes so far this month for his challenge from his teacher.  After we got them to bed, Adrian and I had our 3rd bottle of wine for advent, watched a few comedies and headed to bed for the night.
Tuesday (12/4) We got up and moving today although we were all very tired.  Adrian took AJ to school and then headed to work.  I got the other kids up and ready for school and we had some excitement while we were getting ready.  There was an accident up the road knocking out our water pressure for just over an hour.  Daniel wasn't able to take a shower & we all had to make some adjustments to get ready without water.  I dropped the boys off and then the school called because they were also without water and were considering closing.  Thankfully our local water utilities handled the situation quickly and the school was able to stay opened.

While the boys were at school, I taught my 3 Silver Sneakers classes and ran a bunch of errands.  The day passed quickly but thankfully I got almost everything done.  I picked up Daniel and Zak on my way home and we came home to meet up with AJ.  I was super excited to hear that no one had any homework tonight!  They played for a while and I got a few things done around the house and then made tacos for dinner.  Zak and I ate and then headed out for a busy night.  He had wrestling and Scouts back to back tonight.  He did great in both places and worked really hard, especially in wrestling!  In Scouts we enjoyed making our own trail mix and learning about healthy food choices.  When we got home, it was time for the boys' night time routine.  We got them down to bed, opened our next bottle of wine and finished up cleaning up the kitchen.  We watched a few comedies and then headed to bed.  I can't believe it's only Tuesday!
Wednesday (12/5) We all got up and moving on time this morning after a great night of sleep.  Adrian took AJ to school and then headed to work.  I got everyone else ready and we headed into school together.  I subbed in a 1st grade class today and had a great day with them!  After school, we headed home to meet up with AJ.  We got thru homework and dinner quickly because AJ and I needed to head back to his school for his first band concert.  I stayed with him during warm ups and then Adrian brought the other boys over for the concert.  There were almost 200 6th graders in the band and they sounded great!  We were really impressed, especially considering most of them have only been playing for 10-15 weeks.  AJ had a great time and said he was only a little nervous but he was more excited!  After the concert we came home and enjoyed pretzel bites that our elf brought and got the boys down to bed.  Adrian and I had our bottle of wine for the night and then headed to bed too.
 
Thursday (12/6) We got up and moving on time for our busy day.  Adrian took AJ to school and I got everyone else ready.  I dropped Daniel and Zak off at school and headed to Harcum to teach my 3 Silver Sneakers classes.  I ran a few errands between the classes and then headed home and had about an hour to relax before I had to pick everyone up from school.  I picked up Daniel and Zak and then we headed over to Central to pick up AJ who had his Model UN meeting after school.  He is super excited that his school got Turkey as one of their countries and he is on that team for the competition in March.

After we all got home, we got thru homework and dinner and then I headed out to teach my Zumba class at the church.  I was tired but we had a great class together!  Adrian was working late but thankfully his boss had him leave and come home so that he could work late here at home rather than being stuck in the office.  When I got home, I cleaned up a bit and got the boys down to bed.  Adrian and I opened our bottle of wine while he worked and I finished up a few things around the house.  Since I was so tired, I had a small snack and then headed to bed too.  Thankfully Adrian didn't end up working too late and he was already home when he was done.  We may not be that lucky next week.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Keeping Up With...Food (Meal Plan for Dec 9 - Dec 15)

This will be my last week of meal planning until the new year.  As I've been saying, we have been super busy and the pace of the month is catching up with me.  Also next Friday my parents will be arriving and I'm not sure what we'll be eating that weekend with them.  Then I'm hosting Christmas Eve and my brother is hosting Christmas Day.  We're also all going out to Schmidt's for dinner for night.  The rest of the nights may be easy meals and maybe another night eating out since Red Robin has a special that kids eat for $1.99 right now and all of the kids have been asking to go there.  So with all of that going on, I'm going to take a few weeks off from planning our meals, or at least blogging about them.  I'll be back early in the New Year when I'll be back on the healthy eating train and attempting again to lose weight.

Last week we did pretty good following our plan, although we did switch a few things around to have the easier meals during the week.  We bumped one meal from last week to this week because Saturday afternoon we went out for a late lunch and weren't super hungry for dinner so we decided to have appetizers for dinner instead of cooking a full meal.  It was a great decision for a super busy day!!  This week is slightly lighter and we have a few less things on the calendar.  But we are also kicking up Christmas activities and prep so that's taking a lot of our time too.  And this is Adrian's last week of "busy" season (hopefully) so there may be a night or two that he is not home this week for dinner, in which case we will sub out pasta because I am stocked up on that.

Here's what we're eating this week:
Sunday - Steak (by Adrian) because I'll be at a party until about 6
Monday - Pork and Acorn Squash
Tuesday - Chicken and Veggies
Wednesday - Shrimp Fajitas
Thursday - Squash and Kale Pasta
Friday - Italian Wedding Soup
Saturday - Chipotle Turkey Chili

Water Flavor - I got a good deal on mint this week so I'm doing strawberry mint for my water this week.  I'll pick up a cucumber this week and do cucumber mint next week because it's one of my favorites!

Overnight Oats - I'll be doing a few batches of these tomorrow since we are completely out.  I have two more caramel turtle yogurts so I'll use those for two batches.  Then I Have some plain Greek yogurt to finish up so I'll use that for two batches of chocolate with chocolate chips.  That should be enough to get us thru the week.

Use It Up - I'm using up an acorn squash and a butternut squash in recipes this week.  I'm also using up some mushrooms I got for free and some baby arugula (for the salads on Tues) that I got a great price on.  I'm also using up most of the broth I have in the freezer and a few cans of tomatoes and beans in the pantry.  Finally, I'm using up a lot of the yogurts that I have in the fridge for my oats.  I'll keep only using what I have since I probably won't make them too often over the two weeks of Christmas and New Years.

Lunches - I'm going out on Monday and the other days will be salads and sandwiches.  I've been making sandwiches on Tuesdays and Thursdays because I have to run errands on those days and it's easier to eat them while I'm driving.  

Monday, December 3, 2018

Keeping Up With...Food (Meal Plan for Dec 2 - Dec 8)

After taking some time off for Thanksgiving and mostly eating leftovers last week, I'm back to meal planning this week.  I've been talking with a few friends about how important it is for me to meal plan to stay on track with healthy eating, not to mention saving money on groceries.  And I do a really good job of planning the meals for the week and even shopping for what I need.  My problem is sticking to the plan and making everything I plan to each week.  This week that will be a challenge again.  I have planned meals for each night but we have a super busy week with something going on each night and there is a good chance Adrian will get stuck working late at least one of the nights.  So in addition to having all of this food ready to cook, I'm also making sure I have enough stuff on hand to make sandwiches, salads and pasta just in case I need to fall back on that.

This week I did a really good job of seeing what we already have in the refrigerators and starting there to plan our meals.  We ended up with a ton of peppers somehow so I'm using those to make stuffed peppers.  I also have some rice leftover from the rice bowls I made last week so that will go into the stuffed peppers.  And we have lots of squash from the great sales recently so I'll be using them up in the next few weeks as well.  I made sure we had some variety around what we're eating and also asked the boys what they would like to eat this week in hopes of making things a little easier at dinner time.  The only concern I have with this meal plan is that the first two days don't usually yield a lot of leftovers so we may need to get creative for our lunches.

Here's what we're eating this week:
Sunday - The last of the leftovers from last week
Monday - Pasta (gnocchi & tortellini - the boys' request)
Tuesday - Taco Tuesday! (AJ & Zak's request)
Wednesday - Stuffed Peppers in my instant pot
Thursday - Pork and Acorn Squash
Friday - Zoodles Alfredo with Shrimp
Saturday - Baked Ziti (Daniel's request)

Water flavor - Orange.  I have one left from a special a few weeks ago so I'm using it up this week.

Overnight Oats - I have a few days already set up so I won't be setting these up until Tuesday or Wednesday this week.  I will be using the caramel turtle greek yogurt I got at Kroger for them this week since that is Adrian's favorite, and it's super easy.  I also have a little bit of plain yogurt to use up so I'll probably make that up with some cocoa in it since that's my favorite.

Use It Up - I really focused on this challenge this week and have a super short grocery list because of it.  I am using up peppers, acorn squash, zucchini, pasta and meat that I have.  The only thing I really need to buy this week is the stuff for the baked ziti and a few of our staples.  That is my goal until the end of the year since money has a way of flying out the window this time of year.

Lunches - We have very few leftovers so I will leave those for Adrian for the week.  I will have salads and sandwiches this week.  I also may go out to lunch with friends on Thursday depending on how many errands I have to run that day.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Keeping up with...Family (Weekly Wrap 11/23 - 11/29)

Friday (11/23) We all slept in a little today and then had coffee, cheesecake and donuts to start our day.  We then started Adrian's pick for the week which was a family board game day.  We started early and played games all day long with lots of breaks in between.  We would play one or two games and then do a few chores around the house and then come back to the games.  We also took a large break in the middle of the day to decorate our Christmas trees.  We enjoyed leftovers and snacks all day and it was a very fun, relaxing family day.  After we finished our last game of the day, the boys got a snack and then we all watched "Frosty the Snowman" together before they headed to bed.  Adrian and I split a bottle of wine and played one more game before I headed to bed and he watched the OSU basketball game.
Saturday (11/24) We all slept in again today but then had to get started pretty quickly because "the game" was on at noon and we had company coming for dinner later.  We got a few things done around the house, finished decorating the inside of the house and ate a light lunch before the OSU vs Michigan game started.  I kept working around the house while Adrian screamed at the TV.  Carl, Sarah, Isabelle and Vinnie got here shortly after halftime to celebrate Carl's birthday.  We enjoyed watching the end of the game (especially since OSU won!!), eating too much (dips, pizza, cake!) and drinking yummy wine.  While we adults hung out downstairs, the cousins had a blast hanging out together upstairs.  It was a great family day together!!  After they left, we watched a new to us Christmas show "Robbie the Reindeer" which was just OK, then the boys headed to bed.  Adrian and I cleaned up a little but were super tired and full so we decided to just watch a little TV and then go to bed.  One more day of Thanksgiving break tomorrow to enjoy before it's back to our hectic schedules.
 
Sunday (11/25) It was our last day of sleeping in for a while and we took advantage.  We had nothing on our calendar, again for the last time in probably a month, so we also took advantage of that.  We spent a lot of the day relaxing and working around the house.  Since the weather was nice, we did all of the outside Christmas decorations.  We also made Zak's rain gutter regatta boat, finished all of the boys' homework, got the house ready to host life group tomorrow and rearranged the fridges and freezers.  We ate leftovers all day so we didn't have to worry about cooking.  We watched the Jets hang tough with the Patriots for a while but then lose in the end and saw a bunch of other good football games.  We finished the night watching "Frosty Returns" with the boys and then a few comedies after they went to bed.  It was the perfect end to our fun and relaxing family Thanksgiving break.  I'm not looking forward to the alarm tomorrow but we do love our routine!
Monday (11/26) Back to our normal routine today!  It was rough to get up this morning but we managed.  Adrian took AJ to school and I got the other boys up and ready for school.  I dropped them off and then ran quickly to Meijer where I finished up my Christmas shopping for Adrian and the boys.  Since I had a rare day off from subbing, I worked like crazy around the house for the rest of the day.  I got a bunch of stuff done around the house and also cooked two different chilis for my small group tonight.  The day passed quickly and soon it was time to pick up everyone from school.
 
When we got home, we got thru homework, did some last minute cleaning and then the boys had dinner since they wouldn't eat chili with the small group.  Adrian came home from work and picked up AJ and headed out to his Scouts meeting.  I had a good meeting with my small group discussing James and AJ did great learning knots at his Scouts meeting.  When the meetings were over, we go the boys down for bed, finished cleaning up and watched an episode of "Will and Grace" before heading to bed.  It seemed like a long Monday, probably because we were getting back to our schedule after a long break.

Tuesday (11/27) We got up and moving early again today since it was a full day.  Adrian took AJ to school and I got the boys ready and dressed as their favorite book characters for school today.  I dropped them off and headed to Harcum to teach my three Silver Sneakers classes.  I had a fun time and was excited when my boss was called out during one of my classes by his pregnant wife who was in labor.  After my classes I headed into school to volunteer in Zak's class and did sight words with about half the class and was also their guest reader for the day reading them "Pete the Cat & the Tip Top Treehouse."
After school, we headed home to get ready for our busy night.  Zak had both wrestling practice and his raingutter regatta for Scouts.  We quickly got thru homework and dinner and then I headed out with Zak to head to wrestling practice.  He did great practicing and had fun, he's really enjoying this new sport!  Then we ran next door and got ready to race his boat.  He did OK in the race, racing four times, winning twice and losing twice.  He was upset when he lost the second time but recovered quickly and is ready to make some changes for his boat next year.  When the event was over, we were exhausted and we headed home to get ready for bed.  Adrian and I got the boys down and then watched a few comedies before heading to bed ourselves.
 
Wednesday (11/28) It was rough to get up this morning since we had such a busy night last night, but we were able to get up and going.  Adrian took AJ to school and the rest of us got ready and headed into school together since I was subbing for the day.  I had a pretty good day with a class of second graders and it passed very quickly.  When school was over, I picked up Daniel and Zak and we headed home for the night.  The boys were super excited to hear that we had nothing planned for the night!  So the four of us took our time getting thru homework and dinner and spent a lot of the night just watching TV and relaxing.  I caught up on a few things around the house and got ready for a busy rest of our week.  Adrian got stuck working late and then headed to his board game group for a few hours before coming home.  He got home soon after I got the boys to bed so we got snacks and then sat down to watch the first part of a 2 hour "Survivor" before heading to bed for the night.

Thursday (11/29) We got up and out again on time this morning.  Adrian took AJ to school and I got the other boys ready and dropped off to school.  I headed out to Harcum to teach my three Silver Sneakers classes and ran a few errands between classes.  When I was done teaching, I headed home to relax for a little while before I had to pick the boys up after school.  I picked up Daniel and Zak and then we headed over to Central to pick up AJ after Model UN.  He was super excited to tell me that his country (Turkey) was chosen as one of the countries they will be representing at the conference in March.  I'm so proud of him for trying so many new things this year!

When we all got home, we got thru homework and dinner quickly before heading out to our night activities.  I headed to the church to teach my Zumba class and had a fun time with a great group of ladies.  Adrian headed to the church later with AJ for his Crossover basketball game.  AJ played pretty well and Adrian had fun coaching since the other coach had to step in and referee the game.  When we all got home, we were exhausted after the busy day.  We got the boys thru their night routine and down for the night.  Adrian and I started watching the Cowboys game but I only made it to halftime before calling it a night and heading up to bed.  Thursdays are really long days for me!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Keeping up with...Family (Weekly Wrap 11/9 - 11/15)

Friday (11/9) Once again no one wanted to get up this morning when the alarms went off.  We are struggling to the finish line of this week.  I am hoping for some good sleep this weekend so we can reset and have a great week next week!  Adrian took AJ to school while I got ready to head to the church to sub for the preschool again.  Adrian was supposed to take the other boys to school and then head to work but Zak said he wasn't feeling well and convinced Adrian to let him stay home for the day.  I had a pretty light morning at the preschool since there were a lot of students out sick.  Then I headed over to West to sub as the music teacher for the afternoon.

When the day was over, Daniel met me in the class I was in and told me he had a great day.  He did great in his Veterans' Day assembly this morning and then was given his belt for safety patrol for the next few weeks.  He will be stationed in an area of the school to make sure kids are following the rules - he was born for this job!!  When we got home, we saw that Zak was feeling better and ready for a fun night.  Adrian and AJ got ready to head out for a weekend camping trip and I ran dinner over to a friend who is recovering from surgery.
After we had dinner, Adrian and AJ headed out for a cold, but hopefully fun, weekend of camping.  Daniel and Zak played Minecraft for a while and I got caught up on as much as I could around the house.  Then we watched some TV together before I brought them upstairs and got them settled in for a "slumber party" since Daniel will be sleeping with Zak since AJ is gone and Zak doesn't like to sleep alone.  When they finally went to bed, I got a little wine, got a little snack and watched some Housewives until it was time for me to go to bed too.

Saturday (11/10) Our day started earlier than I wanted it to when Zak came in around 6:30am to start our day.  The upside to being up that early was that I got a few things done before getting everyone ready to head out the door to go to the church for my Zumba class.  I was surprised with one of my Y students showing up for class and it was the best surprise!  We had a fun time dancing in class and got a great workout to start the weekend.  When class was over, I grabbed the boys and we headed home for the rest of the day.  They played video games, watched TV, did homework and played together while I worked around the house.  We took a few breaks to eat together, play a game of "Dixit" and watch "Journey to the Center of the Earth."  When they went to bed, I had more wine, snacks and Housewives.

While we were warm and cozy in the house all day, Adrian and AJ were outside most of the day at their camp out.  I got a few updates from Adrian during the day.  AJ got to shoot riffles, blow guns and a few other guns while working on a merit badge.  He also helped cook breakfast for his Troop this morning.  They are cold and tired but are having a good time.  I was happy to get some updates from them throughout the day!
 
Sunday (11/11) We had a rough night of sleep and both Daniel and Zak ended up in bed with me at different parts of the night.  None of us got enough sleep overnight but thankfully we all fell back asleep early and slept until almost 9am.  Unfortunately since we got up so late we missed the first service of church.  We had a bit of a slow morning just watching TV, playing video games and I enjoyed my coffee.  Then I started to get ready to head to my Zumba jam.  But then I heard from Adrian and he was going to be late getting back and it seemed too stressful so I decided to skip the jam and stay home with the family.

Adrian and AJ finally got home and AJ was super excited to tell me all about his camping trip.  He really enjoyed all of the shooting that he got to do and said the only bad part was the cold weather.  I'm glad they had so much fun!  But I could tell he was exhausted so we pretty much gave him the rest of the day off to rest.  Adrian and I worked around the house and watched the Red Zone network since the Jets game was horrible.  He did take all three boys to Martial Arts tonight since we've missed a bunch of classes, and all three did great but Zak was especially excited.
After they got home from class, we all had dinner and then finished up everything the boys needed to do for the weekend.  Then AJ asked us to play Monopoly so he and I played Monopoly Gamer together and he just barely beat me.  When we finished, they did their snack, show and bed routine and Adrian and I came down to finish a few things and settle in to watch the Cowboys game. He has tomorrow off so we pushed bedtime a little later than normal to watch the game. 

Monday (11/12) We enjoyed a little bit of extra sleep since Adrian is off today for Veteran's Day.  But since the boys still have school so we had to get up and get them ready and out the door.  Adrian drove AJ over to school while I got the other boys ready.  After we dropped them off, we had a nice breakfast of bacon and egg sandwiches and then headed out for a day date.  We went to Kohl's to start our Christmas shopping then headed to Easton for the rest of the day.  We went to Cooper's Hawk for a wine tasting and to pick up our back log of monthly bottles.  Then we walked around a little and did some window shopping before stopping at Flipside for burgers and fries for lunch.  After that, it was time to head back to reality and pick up the boys and head home to start our night activities.
We picked up the boys and then all came home to get ready.  We got thru homework and started getting ready for dinner when Daniel told us he didn't feel well. Since strep throat has been going around his hallway at school, we decided to be safe and stay home from small group tonight.  I was bummed to miss tacos and fellowship with my group, but it was the right decision.  Adrian took Zak to wrestling and I gave Daniel and AJ dinner and was going to take AJ to Scouts.  But he said he was really tired after the camping trip all weekend and asked to skip the meeting.  We decided that would be OK just this once, and were honestly a little excited about the lighter schedule for the night.  Adrian came home after wrestling and we all relaxed, watched some TV and then headed to bed for the night.  It was a great way to kick off our week!

Tuesday (11/13) We were back to our regular schedule today since Adrian had work today.  Thankfully Daniel was feeling fine so he was able to go to school and Adrian and I were both able to go to work.  Adrian took AJ to school and then headed into work for the day.  I got the other boys ready and then headed into the Harcum Center to teach my three Silver Sneakers classes.  When classes were done, I headed into Zak's classroom to volunteer and practice sight words with as many of the students as I was able to see.  They get so excited when I come in and they all want to show me how many words they can read.  When school was over, we picked up Daniel from his safety patrol post and headed home.  We quickly got thru homework and dinner and then I headed to the church to work at the front desk for a few hours.  I got home just in time to help with bedtime for the boys.  When they were done, we finished up a few things around the house and watched a few comedies before heading to bed for the night.

Wednesday (11/14) We all got up and moving on time again today.  Adrian drove AJ to school and I got the other boys ready and dropped off to school.  Since I was only subbing for a few hours in the middle of the day, I ran a bunch of errands and then headed into the school for a brief time subbing in the 3rd grade.  Then I had a few hours in the afternoon to get some stuff done around the house before everyone got home from school.  When we were all home, we got thru homework and dinner quickly before I headed out to the church to work as a facility rep for the night.  Adrian got home from work and took Zak to wrestling practice.  We all got home just in time for bedtime for the boys.  When they were settled, Adrian and I watched "Survivor" and then headed to bed as well.  It was a pretty typical mid-week day for us.

Thursday (11/15) We were woken up early and thrown off our schedule by getting the call that the schools were on a two hour delay.  Adrian needed to get into work so he left quickly and headed downtown.  He thankfully made it there safely and in pretty good time.  I hung out with the boys and had a lazy morning with them while trying to figure out how to juggle the rest of the day.  I had to cancel my first Silver Sneakers class of the day so I could get everyone to school on time.  When I had dropped them all off, I headed to Harcum and taught the second two classes for the day.  I hate to cancel classes but I also know the roads were super icy so it was the best decision for everyone.

After my classes were over, I headed into school to have Daniel's annual IEP meeting.  He's doing really well in speech and the goal is for him to be done with therapy at the end of this school year.  After the meeting, I picked up Zak and Daniel and we headed home.  Adrian texted to let me know he would be late so I was on my own for the night.  I got everyone thru homework and dinner and then we headed to the church for the night.  I taught my Zumba class while the boys were in childcare.  AJ headed into basketball when his practice started and the other boys & I joined him later.  We enjoyed watching him play, he did a great job!  He earned the coach's award for never complaining and playing his hardest today.  I was very proud of him!  When the game was over, we all headed home and got ready for bed.  I got the boys down and Adrian finally got home.  We watched a few comedies and headed to bed too.  It was a long "short" day and I'm not looking forward to a winter that is predicted to be cold and icy!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Keeping Up With...Food (Meal Plan for Nov 18 - Dec 1)

My last meal plan was two weeks ago.  I went back and forth last weekend whether I should write the post or not but then I honestly ran out of time and I didn't write it.  These two weeks are weird with the Thanksgiving holiday right in the middle.  Last week we mostly had leftovers to clean out the fridge to make room for all of the Thanksgiving food.  This week we are again mostly eating leftovers because we have so much food left over.

But I did make a lot of great dishes for Thanksgiving that I kind of wanted to share.  And we had my brother's family over for his birthday on Saturday so I cooked a lot again that day.  And this week I'm hosting my life group on Monday, making a delicious soup with my leftover turkey and possibly cooking a few other meals towards the end of the week.  We have multiple things going on this week so I'm trying to make easy meals with what I have on hand so I don't need to worry too much about cooking or shopping.  I'm hoping to get back to my normal planning and cooking schedule next week but honestly the whole next month is pretty crazy so we'll see what happens.

This meal plan will look a little different as I'm basically just sharing my recipes from the past two weeks.  Hopefully they will help someone who is looking for different sides for the upcoming holidays or even starting to think about next Thanksgiving.  I'm also using this to save my recipes for next year so I don't have to start all over again.  Hope you all enjoy this list of recipes!!

Thanksgiving Dinners:
Instant Pot Mac & Cheese for the youth group Thanksgiving
M&M Cookies for the youth group Thanksgiving - I used the recipe on the back on the Toll House chocolate chip bag & also added a bag of mini M&M's
Brussels Sprout Salad for my life group Thanksgiving
Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Broccoli Casserole
Sausage Stuffing
Instant Pot Applesauce
Oreo Ice Cream Cake - with ice cream sandwiches, Oreo Cool Whip & Crushed cookies
Cheesecake - I omitted the cherries
 
This Week:
Peanut Butter Cake for my brother's birthday
Buffalo Chicken Dip
Homemade Pizza - can't share this recipe but we made cheese, pepperoni/sausage, sausage/peppers & a white pizza with ricotta and zucchini - so good!!
Mexican Layer Dip - a layer of each - refried beans, guacamole, sour cream, fajita seasoning, cheddar cheese, tomatoes & olives
White Chicken Chili
Slow Cooker Beef Chili - I can't find this online but I combine 2 cans of pinto beans, 2 cans of kidney beans, 1 lb of ground beef, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 pepper, 3 tbsp of chili powder, 1 tbsp of cumin, 1/3 cup of broth, 1.5 cups of corn & 1.5 cups on BBQ sauce in the slow cooker for about 6 hours on low.  It's delicious!!
Turkey Noodle Soup
Banana Chocolate Chip Bread
Beef and Spinach Rice Bowls - because I have a bag of spinach I have to use up
I think that's all I'll be cooking this week but we'll see how far that gets me.  We have some other vegetables that we may need to use up so if we need another meal, I'll be figuring out something to make with those.  We also have a bunch of stuffing left over so I may be cooking some kind of meat to eat with the stuffing as a side.