Sunday, January 29, 2017

Keeping Up With...Food (Meal Plan for Jan 30 - Feb 5)

After the few tweaks I made last week to our menu plan, things ran smoother this week I think.  The one thing I forgot to factor in when I made last week's meal plan was what the boys wanted to eat.  They are used to having pasta on Weds nights after a very long day of school, YMCA & soccer.  So I switched that in last week and bumped a meal from last week to this week.  I also was exhausted on Saturday after a busier than expected day so we picked up dinner.  I'm hoping to stick with my plan this week!

This week kicks off our month-long birthday craziness.  Two of the boys have birthdays in February, plus we have the Superbowl, Valentine's Day, my niece's birthday and two (at least) of their friends have birthdays.  Plus there are days off, probably a snow day or two and our normal crazy schedule.  I will be updating my monthly goals later this week, but I am giving myself lots of grace this month and very light goals so I can enjoy it all and not stress out.

Here's what we're eating this week:
Monday - Thai Chicken Thighs with Brussels Sprouts Gratin
Tuesday - Italian Wedding Soup and Spinach & Artichoke Stuffed Potatoes
Wednesday - Pasta
Thursday - Lemon and Herb Chicken Helper with LOTS of veggies - maybe I will actually make it this week, LOL!
Friday - Leftovers for the guys & I'm going out to eat with a friend
Saturday - Zak's birthday party!!  We're having pizza and cake there.
Sunday - Superbowl Sunday!!  We'll be having meatball subs

Water Flavor - Orange Mint (again because I have enough to do it another week and it was really good!)

Friday, January 27, 2017

Keeping Up With...Family (Weekly Wrap 1/20 - 1/26)

Friday (1/20) was a rough morning, no one was getting ready in a timely manner and we had places to be.  I somehow managed to get everyone to school on time and get to my interview with a new fitness center where I will be teaching some Silver Sneakers classes.  After that I met my friend to pick up the workout pants she made for me...and pick out new fabrics for her to make me more pants.
After school we all headed to the Y for my Barre class and then Adrian took AJ to soccer.  When we all got home and had dinner, we were exhausted after the week so we watched TV and relaxed.  We did have an interesting conversation about the inauguration and the new president. AJ (age 9) said "I heard there are some people who are not happy that Trump is our president because of the things he said." I braced myself to answer some tough questions and asked him what he heard. "He said he was going to clean up a swamp but I'm pretty sure there are still alligators in it."  Haha!!  I love the childlike innocence (and am thankful I didn't have to answer hard questions tonight).

Saturday (1/21) was another jam packed day with us needing to get a lot done.  It started with AJ and Adrian heading to AJ's first basketball scrimmage.  He played pretty good, even got an assist for a basket.  Then they came home and Adrian switched out kids and Daniel headed to his first scrimmage.  He also did really well and got a rebound.  Both boys had a lot of fun, which is our main goal for this season.

While they were at Daniel's scrimmage, Carl and Isabelle came over for a bit.  Isabelle played with AJ and Zak while Carl and I looked at our crushed pipe in the front yard.  Then all the kids played in the back yard while I cleaned up our messy deck.  After Carl left, we had lunch then the boys had some video game time while Adrian and I got some stuff done around the house.  And then I took AJ and Daniel to Engineering for Kids for their Minecraft/Pokemon night.  My parents gave them money for Christmas to be able to do this.  They had a blast and were so excited that their progress from the last time they went was still saved.  They want to go back again soon.

We finished our day with some frozen pizza and wings and a movie night.  We watched one of Daniel's new movies, Justice League: Gotham City Breakout.  It was pretty silly to me and Adrian but the boys loved it.  Adrian and I kept our minds busy by playing games on our tablets.

Sunday (1/22) we all woke up in a bad mood and no one wanted to do anything.  We pulled it together (somewhat) and I headed to church to  volunteer.  Then we got a few things done around the house and then headed over to Carl's for dinner and football.  It was great to be able to play in the yard and grill our dinner in mid-Jan!  I wish the football game had been more exciting, but it was still fun to catch up with Carl and Sarah.

The highlight of the night was when Carl taught all the kids how to shoot Isabelle's bow and arrow.  He shot a bunch of really high shots that the kids loved chasing.  Then each kid got to shoot them as well.  They were running all over the yard chasing them.  I think AJ would like a bow and arrow set now.
Monday (1/23) was back to our normal routine, finally for a full week this time.  I got everyone up and out to school and then headed to a killer barre class.  I ran a few errands and then picked Zak up from school.  We did a few puzzles in the afternoon, then he watched some TV while I did a few things and prepped our dinner.  Then we picked up the big kids and headed to the Y so I could teach my Zumba class.  We enjoyed a yummy dinner of homemade Chinese food together and then Adrian headed out to basketball while the boys and I got ready for bed.  Ready to do it all again tomorrow!
Tuesday (1/24) Well, it finally happened...we were late to school this morning!  It was the first time all year and we have made it more than half of the year so I am pretty proud of all of us.  The worse part about being late this morning was that it wasn't that I was running late but the boys would just not get their butts in gear.  They acted like they had no idea how to get ready.  They each got a punishment for their behavior and Daniel was really upset that he can not get perfect attendance this quarter now.

After that rough start, the day went pretty well.  I went into school to volunteer in both AJ's and Daniel's class.  In Daniel's class I did a quick sight word review with a few kids and then moved on to helping them better understand money.  Daniel said he was surprised that I was reviewing money and excited because he wouldn't have seen me if I only did sight words.  In AJ's class I continued to work on my book binding project.  It is such a long and tedious process, but we are making progress!

I finished up at school and went to pick up Zak.  We made a quick trip to Kroger and then came home for lunch and some play time.  We did more puzzles and he helped me put away some groceries.  The afternoon flew by and soon we were picking up the other two boys.  They all went to play together in the play room so I got a few things done then headed out to teach a Zumba class.  Adrian made tacos for all of us for dinner and then headed out to Cub Scouts with AJ and Daniel.  AJ got his Bobcat badge tonight, it's the first badge every scout earns and they do a ceremony for it.  Thankfully one of our friends snapped a picture of AJ for us.
Wednesday (1/25) After yesterday's horrible start, today was like a dream come true.  Everyone got up and got ready and we got to school with no problems.  I went and ran an errand and then taught a Zumba class while they were all at school.  Then tonight I picked them all up from school and went to the Y to teach another Zumba class.  And then ran everyone over to soccer for the night.  Zak and Daniel both did fantastic tonight at soccer!  Zak has been having a few rough weeks at soccer but today he did awesome.  His coach and I were super proud of him!

Thursday (1/26) was another rough start to the day which involved lots of yelling (me) and lots of tears (them).  We somehow got out the door on time and they went to school while I went to a Pure Barre class and then for a much needed eyebrow wax.  Zak and I came home and did our normal afternoon stuff (TV, dinner prep, shower, puzzles, etc) and then went to pick up the other two.

AJ came home with a bunch of homework today so we had to alter our evening plan.  He had to go to basketball because it was team pictures so he missed his Brain Balance therapy.  He got all of his homework done and even had time to watch two episodes of his new favorite TV show, Beyblade.  Daniel also had basketball practice and pictures tonight.  It was a busy Thursday for us!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Keeping Up With...Food (Meal Plan for Jan 23 - Jan 29)

So I'm noticing a few trends with my weekly meal plans.  First, I do great on Monday and Tuesday and then just about every Wednesday the wheels come off and we have leftovers or pasta.  Probably because we don't get home until close to 7 and we are all just ready to eat.  I want to try to do a better job of prepping on Wednesday this week so we can stay on our plan.

The other thing I'm noticing is that the weekends tend to go off the rails.  Part of this is because we are very busy on the weekends and don't have the same schedule like we do on weekdays.  I'm also usually catching up on things I didn't get done during the week and trying to get a jump on the next week so I often don't feel like cooking a big meal.  The other part of this is because I have not been working out on the weekends.  And I feel like once I didn't work out, I can just eat whatever I want.  I know that sounds ridiculous but it's that "cheat big" mentality.  I think I'm going to remedy this by making one night a leftover night and then cooking on the other night.

The meals I did cook last week were awesome!  We loved pretty much everything, especially this Island Pork salad.  Plus bonus for me, Adrian cooked the pork & made the dressing while I was teaching a Zumba class.
There are a few carryover meals from last week that I didn't get to make and then a few of the boys' choices as well.  There is not a lot of food shopping for me to do this week which is nice.  Next week will be a big haul between end of the month coupons and starting to get ready for our two February birthdays.

Here's what we're eating this week:
Monday - Orange Chicken and Fried "Rice" (carryover from last week)
Tuesday - Taco Tuesday!! (boys' choice)
Wednesday - Pork Chops with Sauerkraut and Buffalo Brussels Sprouts (carryover from last week)
Thursday - Lemon and Herb Chicken Helper with LOTS of veggies (I hate Chicken Helper, but we have a box in our pantry.  I am trying to use up or throw out everything that we have had in the pantry for a long time) - this was supposed to be made 2 weeks ago & I keep pushing it.  I really hate Chicken Helper, LOL.
Friday - Meatball Subs (meatballs with zoodles for me/Adrian has happy hour so he's eating out)
Saturday - Italian Wedding Soup and Spinach & Artichoke Stuffed Potatoes
Sunday - Leftovers

Water Flavor - Orange Mint

Friday, January 20, 2017

Keeping Up With...Family (Weekly Wrap 1/13 - 1/19)

Friday (1/13) we had an extra treat because Adrian was able to use all of his comp time from the holidays to take the day off!  The boys were very excited to have him home in the morning while we were getting ready.  We didn't really plan anything special because we weren't sure until last night if he would actually be able to take the day off or not.  I took the boys to school and then went to Pure Barre for a class.  He went to a doctor's appointment, Kohl's to buy shoes and the Y to work out.

For me the best part of Adrian being home was that he picked up all three boys.  It was really nice not to have to stop what I was doing to go pick them up.  He played with Zak most of the afternoon while I got some stuff done around the house.  After he picked up AJ and Daniel, he took all three boys to soccer.  Daniel and Zak had a make up class and it was AJ's normal class.  I went to teach my Barre Connect class while they were all at soccer together.
After we all got home we had dinner and the boys watched some TV.  We were thinking of having a family movie night but the boys were exhausted and not behaving so we decided we wanted them to go to bed on time.  We have a busy day tomorrow (weather permitting) and would like everyone to get a good night of sleep.

Saturday (1/14) we were supposed to get ice overnight so we woke up not sure how our day would go.  We never got any ice and we were able to do everything we had scheduled.  I headed out early with AJ and Zak to go to Brain Balance.  I am enjoying going more because there are other moms who are there at the same time and we have fun chatting.  We're also planning a moms night out together in March so that will be fun!

While we were there, Adrian and Daniel went to basketball.  Daniel is doing really well and having a great time playing.  Unfortunately he says he doesn't want to play when they start games (next week).  We'll see what happens in a few weeks.  From basketball, they ran to the store to get a few things including a birthday gift for Daniel's friend who was having a party today.  Daniel came home and had a quick lunch then we dropped him off for the birthday party.  He had a great time there playing legos, watching The Lego Movie and having a Nerf gun war.  Plus eating hot dogs and cupcakes.

While he was at the party, Adrian and AJ headed to basketball.  AJ is struggling since he's a little behind the other kids on the team so they stayed after to work on some basic skills.  I hung out at home with Zak and chatted on the phone with my Mom and then my Aunt.  Finally around 4:00 we were all home for the night and exhausted!  We spent the rest of the night hanging out, watching TV and playing.  It was a very lazy night after a jam packed day of running around.

Sunday (1/15) started with all of us going to church together.  I volunteered again this morning so I was in Daniel's class.  I'm very proud of him participating this morning, he's normally super quiet.  I think having smaller groups is much better for him.  After church we came home and got some stuff done around the house before settling in to watch the Cowboys game.  It was so exciting but so disappointing that they lost.  At least they are set up with a great time for the future so hopefully next year they (and the Jets!) will do better!!  We finished up the night with a family video game night playing some Super Mario Brothers on the WiiU.  Excited we have another day off tomorrow!
Monday (1/16) was a holiday for all of us so we all got to sleep in and be lazy in the morning.  Adrian had a doctor's appointment so he headed there while the boys and I hung and got some things done around the house.  That's actually pretty much what our whole day was.  And we just about finished our to do list, I love it when that happens!  I was the only one who had to work, so I headed out to teach my afternoon Zumba class.  I was pleasantly surprised to come home to dinner nearly cooked.  Adrian did a great job prepping everything for our salads that night.  We finished up the holiday weekend with a quick game of "Loot" and tried to all head to bed at our normal early hour.

Tuesday (1/17) we were (sort of) back to our regular schedule.  Adrian worked from home today since we had a plumber coming to look at our clogged pipe.  He ended up taking care of multiple other things around the house as well so it was good that he was home.  Of course he didn't get his full 8 hours of work in so that wasn't so great.  Other than that it was school for the boys, Brain Balance for AJ and Zumba and barre classes for me. 

We did get to take advantage of the nicer weather and we walked home from school this afternoon.  It was SO nice to get some fresh air and stretch our legs a little.  The boys also stayed outside when we came home.  They colored with chalk in the front for a while since we were out there with the plumber and then headed to the back yard to play on the swing set.  This whole week isn't supposed to be very cold so hopefully we can walk another day too!
Wednesday (1/18) we were really back to our normal routine.  Everyone went to work, school and Zumba.  Daniel and Zak had soccer at night.  Daniel continues to do a great job in soccer, he scored a few goals tonight and had a ton of fun.  Zak is struggling with listening right now and is not playing most of the games the coaches are asking  him to play.  Tonight he didn't earn his stamps since he didn't play.  Hopefully this will motivate him to start following directions next week.
Thursday (1/19) was busy as always!  Boys went to school, Adrian to work and I went to take a Barre class and run errands.  Then Zak and I hung out in the afternoon and got dinner together.  I was very excited to use the delayed cook option on my oven.  We picked up the other 2 boys and ran to a chiropractor appointment for AJ and I.  Then came home (to a cooked dinner, yay!) and AJ and Adrian headed to basketball.  About an hour later, I ran Daniel up to the church for basketball and picked up AJ to take him to Brain Balance.  I got some nice feedback about AJ, he's doing great with his therapy there.  We finally got home and to bed at a semi-decent hour.  Thursdays are jam packed!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Keeping Up With...Food (Meal Plan for Jan 16 - Jan 22)

Last week was slightly better sticking to my meal plan...until we got to the weekend.  I am just very unmotivated to cook on the weekends, probably because we're not on any set schedule and tend to be fairly busy.  Yesterday I just didn't feel like cooking so we went out to pick up Bibibop and then today we have the Cowboys game right around dinner time and I just don't feel like making a big meal during the game.  Tonight we'll just have leftovers since we have quite a few of them in the fridge!  One of our leftovers is this delicious potsticker bowls that I made during the week.  It made 6 servings so we've had it a few times this week.
This week starts with a holiday so that will throw my shopping and cooking schedule off a little bit.  I planned for that last week and shopped ahead for a few meals.  So that plus pushing two meals from last week actually means I have very little shopping to do this week.  We may throw another leftover night in this week because our fridge is overflowing for some reason right now.

Here's what we're planning on eating this week:
Monday - Island Pork Tenderloin Salad
Tuesday - Southwest Chicken Chowder
Wednesday - Meatball Casserole
Thursday - Orange Chicken and Fried "Rice"
Friday - Pork Chops with Sauerkraut and Buffalo Brussels Sprouts
Saturday - Chicken Parm Stuffed Peppers
Sunday - Dinner with my brother's family.  Not sure if he will cook or I will so I'll figure that out later in the week.

Water Flavor - Mango again because they are on sale and it's one of my favorite flavors

I've been trying to involve the boys more in the menu planning process but unfortunately none of their picks made the list this week.  I'm trying to use up things that I have and that filled the whole menu this week.  I know AJ wants meatball subs, Daniel wants mac and cheese and everyone wants tacos so those will probably all make the menu next week.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Keeping Up With...Family (Weekly Wrap 1/6 - 1/12)

Friday (1/6) started with a lot of disappointment that we didn't get a snow day or at least a delayed opening today.  Everyone thought we would get to sleep in but the roads were fine so that didn't happen.  I got everyone to school in sub-zero temperatures and then headed to Pure Barre for a class.  Zak had a great time in school because they had a party in class for their good behavior.  They were all able to bring in one toy that they got for Christmas.  Zak chose to bring in his Peppa Pig camper van and all of his classmates loved it!
In the afternoon, Zak and I hung out while I rested and practiced for my new Barre Connect class in the afternoon.  We picked up the older boys and headed to the YMCA for my class.  Adrian picked up AJ and took him to soccer, where he again did awesome.  We finished up the day with a lazy night of TV and video games.  I think this full week back to our schedule (sort of because we actually missed multiple things this week!) really wore us out.

Saturday (1/7) we were up and moving early to get everything done that needed to be done.  I took AJ and Zak to Brain Balance while Adrian took Daniel to basketball practice.  It was Adrian's first time coaching and he and Daniel both had a fun time.  Then after a quick stop home for lunch, I took Daniel and Zak to a meeting at the YMCA and Adrian took AJ to his basketball practice.  Adrian is the assistant coach for AJ's team and again everyone had fun.  After running around all day, the rest of the night was a lot laying around watching TV, playing with toys and playing video games.
Sunday (1/8) started early when Daniel came in and woke me up around 6am.  He tossed and turned and then decided he was ready to go downstairs.  Thankfully Adrian was already up so they went down and I dozed for a little while longer.  We had a fairly slow start to our Sunday then headed out to church as a family.  After we had lunch we tackled the large task of taking down all of our Christmas decorations.  It's so much more fun to put them up than take them down!  We spent the rest of the afternoon working around the house, then had family dinner.  After the kids went to bed, Adrian and I finished up a few things and watched some of the Golden Globes.  My favorite kind of Sunday.

Monday (1/9) starts a full week of our routine.  We had a very rough morning!  No one was doing what they were supposed to be doing and it ended with lots of yelling and tears.  I somehow got everyone to school on-time, not sure how I pulled that off.  While they were at school, I ran some errands and took a barre class.  In the afternoon we went to the YMCA for my Zumba class and AJ finished up some exercises that he needed to do for Boy Scouts and we couldn't do at home.  We finished the night by watching the college football championship game.  I didn't make the end, it was a long Monday for me.

Tuesday (1/10) I spent the morning volunteering at the older boys' school in their classrooms. I did sight words with Daniel's class and he finished his last book so no more practice for us, yay!! I worked on making Math books in AJ's class and met their new class pet - a chinchilla! It was a fun morning with them!

After I picked Zak up, we hung out at home, played some Minecraft and got a few things done around the house before we had to pick up the other two.  In the evening, I taught a Zumba class then came home to hang out with Zak while AJ, Daniel and Adrian went to Boy Scouts.  Tonight was the Pinewood Derby workshop so they cut and sanded their cars.  We will work on painting them and getting them ready over the next few weeks.

Wednesday (1/11) Zak decided we should start our day before 5:00am.  Yawn.  And of course he woke me up that early on a day that AJ and Daniel ended up having a two hour delay for school.  The roads were a sheet of ice this morning so they called the delay.  Zak still had school since the roads were better by the time we had to drive him.

After school we headed to the Y for my Zumba class and then on to soccer for Daniel and Zak.  Zak had a rough time at soccer, he didn't want to play.  He was probably tired from being up so early.  Daniel continues to be an amazing soccer player.  He scored 3 or 4 goals in the scrimmage and had a fantastic time!  He says he loves playing soccer!

Thursday (1/12) is now the busiest day of the week for us.  I got everyone to school and then headed to a Pure Barre class.  I ran a few errands and then picked up Zak and hung out with him for the afternoon.  The evening is when things really picked up.  AJ had an early evening basketball practice, with Adrian as his coach.  So far he enjoys playing but is struggling since he doesn't really know the basics yet.  I hung out with Daniel and Zak while they were there.  Then I took everyone up to the church to drop Daniel off for his practice and pick up AJ to take him to Brain Balance.  Zak and I played with magnetic tiles and marbles in the waiting room while he was at his session.  Daniel is doing really well with basketball and enjoying playing.  It was a full night & we were all exhausted when we got home!!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

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

So I may have been a little over ambitious last week with my menu plan.  I forgot how hard it is to get back into our routine after two weeks of doing virtually nothing.  I was exhausted by Wednesday night and we still had a busy few days ahead of us.  I did stick to not ordering out at all, but we did leftovers twice this week and bumped some of last week's meals to this week.

The big excitement for me this week was finally opening up my Ninja kitchen system.  I have been struggling and hating my blender/food processor/magic bullet for a few months now and I finally decided that I wanted to retire them all and invest the money in a Ninja system.  I got a great deal on Black Friday and waited patiently until Christmas morning to open it.  I've made smoothies every day this past week with it and they taste better and are easier to make than they ever were in either the blender or the bullet.  I'll be using the food processor today for chopping some vegetables.  Yay!!
I'm hoping this week we find our groove and that I'm not nearly as tired as I was last week.  If not, I'm stocked up on fruit, veggies, sandwich ingredients and pasta so if I have to take a night off from cooking, I'll be OK and not have to eat out.

Here's our plan for this week:
Monday - Pot Sticker Noodle Bowls
Tuesday - Taco Tuesday!
Wednesday - Spaghetti Squash Pizza Pie
Thursday - Whole Roasted Chicken in my convection oven (can't wait!)
Friday - Lemon and Herb Chicken Helper with LOTS of veggies (I hate Chicken Helper, but we have a box in our pantry.  I am trying to use up or throw out everything that we have had in the pantry for a long time)
Saturday - Island Pork Tenderloin Salad
Sunday - Orange Chicken and Fried "Rice"

Water Flavor - Mango

I never got to this veggie soup last week so I'll be making it today to eat this week.  I also have a lot of stuff for salad and will be making a batch of healthy Ranch dressing today for lunches this week as well.  Hope you have a fantastic week!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Keeping Up With...Family (Weekly Wrap 12/30 - 1/5)

Friday (12/30) Adrian was able to work from home which was nice because the boys didn't have to come to the gym with me.  He was supposed to be off but they just had too many problems on the program he's working on and they need to be all worked out by Tuesday.  It might be a long weekend for him (and us).  I did my first workout in like 9 days & it was rough, but I survived.  I taught a Zumba class to about 20 people, it was such a fun group!  They kept me going even though I didn't really want to.

After Adrian and I both finished work, we got the kids ready and headed downtown to COSI.  They are closing Adrian's favorite exhibit "Adventure" and he wanted to go do it one more time.  We headed there first and about an hour later we had unlocked the "treasure of knowledge" and completed level one.  Zak, Daniel and I were done with the exhibit but Adrian & AJ wanted to try level two, so we split up.  The three of us headed to the traveling exhibit and learned "How People Make Things."  It was a pretty fun exhibit and I'm glad we saw it before it leaves next week.


When we finished up in COSI our plan was to walk around the downtown Christmas lights.  But when we walked outside and felt how cold it was, we opted to just drive around and see them the best we could.  Plus everyone was pretty hungry so we drove around for about 10 minutes and then headed home for dinner.  It was a fun afternoon and evening with family!

Saturday (12/31) The last day of 2016!  We slept in again today and then were all super motivated to clean the house.  Adrian and I organized the entire play room, including our game closet.  It was a huge mess and took us most of the afternoon.  We threw out like 4 or 5 bags (I lost count) of trashed toys and games plus have another 3 bags that were in decent shape but we just outgrew to donate.  Of course once we put our Christmas haul away the play room will be just as full, but hopefully it will stay organized.

Other than cleaning out the play room, it was a very chill day.  We ordered Jets pizza for lunch and just picked on it all day so I didn't have to worry about cooking.  We finished up Jesus' ice cream birthday cake for dessert.  We played a lot of board games and the boys played a lot of video games.  And everyone stayed up until midnight for the second year in a row!
Sunday (1/1) Happy New Year!!  What an awesome start to our new year.  I volunteered in childcare at church this morning and had a great time with the kids.  Some of them were having a tough time being away from Mom and Dad and I was able to really love on some of them and help them feel welcome.  Adrian and the boys missed service today since the boys all slept until after 10 this morning after their late night.

When I came home we did our dinner in the afternoon since we had plans at dinner time.  We had our traditional pork (ribs, slow cooked in our new convection oven, yum!) and sauerkraut for good luck for the year.  While we were eating, we started our new Sun dinner tradition and used AJ's Christmas present - a conversation starter.  He picked a question from the jar & asked about what we've read recently.  We had a really good conversation about the books we just read or are currently reading.  It was really fun!  We also talked about what everyone wanted to eat for dinner this upcoming week, I'm trying to involve them in meal planning.

Finally we headed to the zoo late in the afternoon to see the Wildlights.  We have tried to go a few times and had to cancel.  Adrian and I didn't honestly feel like going tonight but the boys (especially Daniel) really wanted to go.  I'm SO glad we did!  We walked around for over 2 hours looking at the lights, walking thru the aquarium, seeing the light show on the lake, riding the train and watching Rudolph in the 4D theater.  Such an amazing night together!!  We finished up with funnel cake and ice cream for dinner (yes, I am totally serious).  It was a great night and a wonderful start to our year.  I wish I could clone the day 364 more times.

Monday (1/2) Last day of winter break for everyone.  While I've enjoyed having the boys home and having very little scheduled, I am also excited to get back to our routine tomorrow.  All the boys really wanted to do today was play video games, since they only get them on weekends during the school year.  And Adrian and I had quite a bit of things to do around the house since we slacked off all break.  So that's basically what we did.  I taught my first Zumba class of the year in the afternoon, we were all a little sluggish but we survived. 

Tuesday (1/3) Back to our normal routine!!  Everyone got up and out for work and school this morning.  We were actually early for our school drop offs and there was very little fighting this morning to get everyone ready, yay!  I went to my first class at Pure Barre and am very sore after it.  I also started the grocery restock after not shopping very much for the two weeks everyone was off.  After school, everyone except Daniel had chiropractor appointments to get adjusted after the holidays.  AJ was supposed to get back to Brain Balance tonight but Adrian got stuck at work and I was teaching a Zumba class so he missed that.  All in all it was a good return to our routine.

Wednesday (1/4) was a little rougher getting moving in the morning but still got everyone to school on time.  While they were at school I continued the grocery restocking and also taught a Zumba class.  After school Daniel and Zachary had soccer and did an awesome job in their classes.  AJ also met up with his friend (who has a brother in Daniel's class) and they played soccer on their own for most of the time.  We were all really tired when we got home.  I wish our schedule started back up in waves instead of going from nothing to everything all in one week!

Thursday (1/5) started with a wrench in our schedule.  Daniel was complaining that his stomach hurt so he stayed home from school.  I had to miss my Barre class so I ended up taking a rest day today.  But I was able to get a lot done around the house since we were home.  After some rest and TV time, he seemed fine so we went on with our day as scheduled.

Daniel and I picked up Zak from school and headed over towards Easton.  My sister in law Rebecca was in town for a meeting and had a few hours before her plane left so we were meeting her for lunch.  We got there early so we did a "quick" trip to Costco and then headed over to Piada to meet her for a delicious lunch.  We tried to walk around Easton a little bit but it was freezing and snowing.  So we cut through the mall and went to Jeni's for ice cream.  It was a great (but quick!) visit with her & I'm so glad we were able to do it!!

We left from Easton and headed right to school to pick up AJ.  In the mean time the snow was getting worse and basketball practice for the night was cancelled.  We also decided to not make the drive over to Brain Balance so our whole evening was free.  We celebrated by playing board games and watching TV from our warm house.  Zak and I also went on a snow walk because he wanted to make as many snow prints as possible.  I was bummed that our plans cancelled but also thrilled not to have to be out in the cold!

Monday, January 2, 2017

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

I'm back to menu planning after a short break for the holidays.  OK, maybe it was more than a "short" break since it's been close to a month since I shared my menu plan.  But my meals haven't been very exciting the past few weeks.  Adrian was working a ton and then there was this little holiday called Christmas.  There has been a lot of pasta, tacos, casseroles & frozen appetizers.  Plus a few nights of eating out. 

We did do two weeks of Hello Fresh meals to help make it a little easier on me while Adrian was working crazy hours.  I got a great Black Friday deal on one week and when I reactivated my account I had a pretty big credit so both week were around $50 (for 6 days worth of dinners).  I like the idea of this service but these 2 weeks solidified that it's just not for us.  It is very expensive & we only got 2 servings so I had to cook a second meal for the kids.  We also didn't get any leftovers, which Adrian & I both use for our lunches, so I had to cook extra food for him for lunch & figure out my lunches as well.  The food is really fresh and delicious, but it's just not a good fit for our family right now.

So now that's all behind us.  Adrian is back to only working 40-45 hours each week.  The boys will soon be back to school and sports and I'm back to teaching fitness classes.  My goal for this year is to cook a majority of our meals and eat out way less.  I'm also trying to lose weight (again) so most of our meals will be healthy.  And the biggest goal for me is to involve everyone else in the meal planning so (hopefully) there is more eating and less complaining at the dinner table.

Here's what we're eating this week to get back on track:
Monday - Leftovers (we have a very full fridge, trying to make some room)
Tuesday - Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers
Wednesday - Bang Bang Shrimp Pasta
Thursday - Balsamic Chicken & Potatoes
Friday - Spaghetti Squash Pizza Pie
Saturday - Homemade Meatballs - Subs for the boys & with Zoodles for me and Adrian
Sunday - Pot Sticker Noodle Bowls

Water Flavor - Green Grapes

I'm also going to make this veggie soup for my lunches for the week.  I'm going to start making one soup per week so we always have lunches and leftovers ready to go.  I will also make sure we are always stocked up on salad essentials, sandwich essentials & pasta to help us cut down on eating out.  When I have a busy day & don't feel like cooking, we will make these options instead of ordering out.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Keeping Up With...Goals (Jan Family Goals)

Last year I did 40 goals for the year and while I enjoyed the challenge I honestly found it overwhelming sometimes.  I also got discouraged when I realized I couldn't hit a goal because things had changed.  So this year I'm doing monthly goals in two categories - Fitness and Family.  I'll post the goals at the beginning of the month then update them at the end of the month.  Hope you enjoy reading about them!!
My family goals were all over the place last year.  A lot of them were hard to measure or I had one chance to do them and I couldn't for some reason.  I also had "life" happening so things that seemed important and manageable at the beginning of the year were pushed way to the back burner by the end of the year.  Monthly goals will give me a lot more flexibility.  

I am going to focus on making the goals things I can measure.  Some of these will be the same from month to month and others will change as my life changes.  Some of these will be for the whole family and some just for me, which will still affect my whole family.
Here are my specific goals for Jan:
1.  Finish the 2 books that I am currently reading (2 books for the month towards 14 for the year)
2.  Have family dinner every Sunday night and use AJ's conversation starters during in (5 dinners for the month)
3.  Organize and declutter the play room and game closet (1 room for the month)
4.  Meal plan each week and cook dinner each night, no eating out (31 meals for the month)
5.  Continue doing my week in review blog (4 posts for the month)
6.  Continue taking one picture each day and posting on Facebook (31 pictures for the month)
7.  Have one family movie night and one family board game night (2 special nights for the month)

I think this will be a very good start to my year if I can do all of these goals.  Check back at the end of January for the recap of how I did with these.