april to may

April was a really busy month for us! We hosted my parents twice; my husband ran the Boston Marathon (so proud); we hosted Easter… The kids started state testing in April and that continues through May, as do field trips and end of year activities. We are checking out a Parochial pre-school program for 3 on Sunday and while soccer’s been delayed a week due to rain, we have that on the horizon as well.

I have found that blogging has really helped me stay accountable to myself and continue to prioritize my health and wellness. It’s truly been a gift! This is the first area I’m going to discuss. My diet went a little out of control over the month of April; more meals out than usual and with company, richer foods than what my body’s used to. While I didn’t gain any weight, I definitely gained some bloat/puffiness, so I’m hoping in May to dial it back a little and get back to eating how I prefer to eat — largely gluten and dairy free, reduced grains, and lots of vegetables/fruits (and potatoes) with a moderate amount of meat, which I’d like to start swapping some out for seafood for lunch. My goal for May is to also continue making mostly good choices that don’t leave me feeling puffy on date nights. We try to go out weekly and it’s tough to always choose the healthier options but I think I mostly do a good job… sometimes, though, you have to have the shrimp quesadilla.

Further, I want to stay with my exercise goals. I track my exercise on the MapMyRun app. I’ve been using it for about 10 years now (back when it was just a website). Currently, I have two goals in place: Run 3 miles a week and Exercise for 3 hours a week. While I did not meet the 3-hour weekly work out (feel short two weeks, 2.19 & 2.24 hours), I did meet my 3 mile goal weekly. Today, I talked myself into just running half a mile to meet that goal and should have 3 hours of time completed after tomorrow’s yoga.

For May, I want to increase my mileage goal to 4 miles per week and maintain the 3 hour workout goal. Most of that time comes from yoga, which is tough because I’ve realized that the night classes are really rough on my body — I get home around 9PM and am more than ready for dinner, so I end up eating more than I typically would and I go to sleep too late/ wake up sluggish and exhausted. My semester ends on May 13th, so Monday nights will get back to normal then. Otherwise, I’ve decided to take one fewer yoga class a week. The yin class I take is really great, so I don’t want to drop that one; therefore, I’ll keep my Tuesday night class but will drop my Friday night class. I will keep Saturday and Sunday morning/early afternoon classes. I figure if I feel I can get to a Friday (or any other night) class or double up a T/Sa/Su class, then that’s great but otherwise, I will still get regular practice in.

For our anniversary (today), my husband got me a yoga bolster and two more blocks. I’m really excited because I think I can do restorative yoga at home now and it’s my goal to do that on Friday nights to come down from the busy week.

At the end of May, my husband and I are doing a staycation in the city while my MIL stays with the kids for a few days. I can walk to my yoga studio and my husband is doing a half marathon that weekend, so we are planning to stay active. We also got Red Sox tickets, which should be fun!

All in all, I hope that May can shape into a great month for us. I am really looking forward to seeing the pre-school for 3. 11 has a big field trip on Monday to a ropes course and he’s really excited about it.

Do you have anything fun planned for May?

 

meals, april 26-may 2

April has flown by! We’ve done a fair bit of entertaining with houseguests and Easter and I just can’t really believe that May is just around the corner. We are trying to get back into the swing of eating better and relying less on takeout. We definitely go through phases where we don’t feel like cooking and then order food and with guests in town, we definitely weren’t making the best food choices. For example, my mom brought these pizzas you can only get in western PA: I put American cheese on my sauce pizza and I broke out into a rash after eating it — this did not slow me down, as I ate the entire thing. Myself. I have one left in the freezer that I’m trying to have my brother take.

This week, we did a lot of vegetables and salad. Since I somehow deleted the post for this, I’ll give a quick run-down:

Monday — True Roots roasted chicken with roasted carrots & potatoes. I ate this like a savage after class. This is one of my favorite recipes from TR and it’s so simple.

Tuesday — We used leftover chicken from Monday to make chicken salads and topped them with Primal’s Mild Buffalo sauce, Alexia fries, tomatoes, pickled jalapeños, and boiled eggs leftover from Easter.

Wednesday — Sauerkraut and turkey kielbasa in the slow cooker, plus mashed potatoes to round it all out.

Thursday — Date night.

For lunches, my husband threw together quinoa, frozen peppers, and sausages in the rice cooker. I sautéed 365 spinach-chicken sausage and had them for lunches with tomato salads; I also had tuna with Simple Mills rosemary crackers as another lunch/snack option.

This week, we are going to keep with the simple cooking ideas. I wouldn’t mind getting into the habit of doing something a little special on Saturdays for dinner since we are all together and have the time to make something a little more elaborate. This week, I figured I’d go with a Tex-Mex theme and am really looking forward to what I have planned.

Weekend breakfasts will be simple: Saturday and Sunday, I am doing yoga so we are going to hold off on big breakfasts. We have acai bowls from TJ’s that will account for one day and I am going to make chocolate chia pudding for the other.

We are also going to do some large-batch cooking/grilling so that we aren’t having to spend a lot of time making dinners nightly. For the weekend, we are going to grill three pounds of chicken thighs. We are going to use them for Friday & Saturday dinners and lunches on Saturday & Sunday. I’ll do the same on Monday before class with three pounds of ground beef.

Friday — Skewers with BBQ chicken thighs, red pepper chunks, and pineapple plus foil-packet-potatoes.

Saturday — Chicken fajitas with frozen peppers, pickled jalapeños, tomatoes, and avocado; Siete queso, salsa, and guac.

Sunday — Buffalo chicken salads with the remaining chicken thighs, tomatoes, pickled jalapeños, boiled eggs, fries, and carrots.

Monday — 11 has a field trip and I have class, so planning something easy is key: Slow-cooker Taco Soup (from Pinterest). I’ll grab sour cream to go with this and some tortilla chips.

Tuesday —  Taco Tuesday with ground beef, frozen peppers, crunchy shells & Spanish rice

Wednesday — Asian meatballs (basically, dumplings without the wonton) served with stir-fried bok choy and Chinese potatoes.

Thursday — Leftover taco soup while my husband and I are out for date night.

Lunches during the week — chicken sausage, spinach, and tomato salads for me; my husband will do sauce, peppers, and sausage with rice. The kids will have sandwiches or kielbasa, peppers, and rice.

Breakfasts for the week are egg cups with prosciutto.

charcuterie boards

I have enjoyed using my many cookbooks to put together meals when we have guests visiting. Our most recent purchase was a book titled: Boards & Platters:

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I took inspiration from a couple of the boards in here and created my own spread. My family REALLY liked the tahini-coconut dip for vegetables and we will be making this regularly as the summer rolls in because vegetable trays are that much easier to have on hand than salads are to make.

We had a great spread with sourdough bread and fresh Italian; a fruit tray with raspberries, blackberries, and dragonfruit plus some sugared & baked pink grapefruit for a special treat. To that, we added a tray of genoa, napoli, and soppressata salamis as well as a nice mortadella (our local grocery didn’t have pistachio mortadella though that is my preference). Additional accompaniments to this were goat cheese, drunken goat cheese, raclette, and manchego cheeses plus orange marmalade, organic cacao chocolate spread, and grass-fed butter. Then, came olives and spicy gardinia to bridge the gap between the meats/cheeses and the vegetable tray which has Easter radishes, purple/yellow/orange carrots, a yellow bell pepper, snap beans, grape tomatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower (along with the tahini dip mentioned above).

This spread was fresh, filling, and delicious and was a big hit (as were the mimosas served with it).

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What are your favorite spreads for entertaining?

april vacation

We are excited for the kids’ April vacation week as well as the upcoming Boston Marathon to cheer on my husband!

We’d originally planned on 13 attending an art camp but received notice that due to low enrollment,  it was canceled; instead, we’ve come up with a plan for the kids to enjoy their week off of school:

Friday: Family dinner with my parents & brother.

Saturday: Husband and I will go out for packet pickup and a date, so I’m sure the kids will be sugared up since they’ll be with their grandparents all day (the ice cream parlor we can walk to is now open).

Sunday: Church & Family Day to prepare for the marathon; maybe we will walk to the beach if the weather is nice and a big family dinner in the evening.

Monday: Boston Marathon! The weather is suspect for now but we are hoping it clears up some. If it doesn’t, I think we will have to take the T and just mill around the Pru for a little while we wait for my husband to finish. I’d really like everyone to see him cross the finish line.

Tuesday: Zoo (weather dependent) with my parents. My husband and I are heading to yoga Tuesday night, so my parents will get a few extra hours to spend just with the kids and play games/eat sugar.

Wednesday: Girls’ Day — 13 wants to do some shopping; she has birthday money that is burning quite the hole in her pocket.

Thursday: 13 has to have a cleaning and tooth extraction and 11 has a cleaning, so we will probably lay low the rest of the day.

Friday: Chores/Relaxation/Reading.

Saturday: We are getting all gussied up and heading to high tea at a local place. The kids have never been and I think it’ll be a really nice end to their vacation week.

Sunday: Easter Sunday church & brunch.

I really enjoy the school vacation weeks — it’s like an entire week of Saturdays — no real structure (outside of bedtime consistency), breakfast/lunch/dinner together daily, and fun activities. My husband works from home a couple of days to spend more time with the kids, too. It’s a really nice break in the schedule and gets us excited for summer.

meals, april 12-18

We are excited to have visitors at the house — even though things will be busy with the upcoming marathon, I still like to plan and entertain guests.

With their visit, we are making things super simple on Thursday — rotisserie chicken, broccoli fries, and leftover vegetables/salad from the week.

Friday, we are going to make buffalo chicken salads with fries.

Saturday, we will do a lovely brunch and keep it simple with Art Smith’s Steel-Cut Oats with Greek Yogurt & Blueberries (Healthy Comfort, P15) but will substitute Icelandic yogurt.  For dinner, my husband and I are going out, so I figured on leftover rotisserie chicken and rice bowls, chipotle style, with lettuce, tomatoes, jalapeños, cilantro-lime dressing, and guacamole.

Sunday, will start with a light breakfast before church (Art Smith’s oatmeal/yogurt). We are going to host a post-church/yoga brunch with a platters from our new cookbook: Platters and Boards by Shelly Westerhausen & Wyatt Worcel (P52 & 73). For dinner, we are going to do marinated chicken on the grill and potatoes, served with leftover vegetables from brunch, beets and chimichurri. We will also make cupcakes to decorate to inspire my husband to run a great marathon!

Monday, we will do sprouted bagels for breakfast, fruit, and tomato salad (for me); we will go out for dinner or order delivery after the marathon.

Tuesday, my parents are staying an extra day so that my husband can take a yoga class with me. We will probably grab dinner afterwards or something else on Boylston Street. My parents and the kids will have chicken sausage & pasta with leftover vegetables or beets.

Wednesday, we are going to make things easy shredded beef with carrots, mashed potatoes, and leftover vegetables/beets/salads.

Thursday, date night. The kids will have leftovers.

For weekday breakfasts, the kids will have chia pudding, cereal, or eggs; for lunches, we have stuff to make pizzas and turkey sandwiches/grilled cheese. I’ll likely make smoothies and the kids will have fruit and vegetables and cheese sticks to round these lunches out.

 

kids & responsibilities

We believe in shared household responsibilities. Some people classify these things as chores but we think they’re necessary for everyone to pitch in for the house to run smoothly and also for the kids to learn to take proper responsibility for things.

3 has the simplest chores, of course. He is responsible for matching his socks, he also folds and puts away his pants and pajamas (though I fold the tops). He can’t reach the other drawers yet, but he does take ownership for what he can. He is also responsible for keeping his room clean and putting away his dishes. He enjoys feeding the dog, too, so he frequently takes on that responsibility (or watching him in the backyard).

11 and 13 have similar chores: They both do their own laundry (this started a couple years ago when they both decided they were done sorting laundry; it started as a consequence and we just decided to turn it into a responsibility); on some weekends, they do some dusting and swiffering and each clean one of the two bathrooms they use. They are responsible also for keeping their rooms clean and doing their homework.

In the mornings, 11 takes the recycling down and in the evenings, he’s earned dish duty (loading the dishwasher). 13 unloads the dishes in the mornings and walks the dog after school — she just started this responsibility after turning 13. It’s comical; today, for example, she stood at the bottom of the steps begging the dog to come downstairs for his walk. We decided to add this responsibility to take something off my plate but Brutus isn’t really impressed; hopefully, he will start to trust her intentions sooner than later so he more swiftly will leave with her.

We feel strongly that having household responsibilities is important for a few reasons — it makes everyone invested in the house, it allows everyone to contribute, and it offers ownership of certain spaces/aspects of things. What types of chores/responsibilities do your families divvy?

meals, april 5-11

Happy meal planning! I planned out two weeks (loosely) so that I could get what I need from Whole Foods (meats/specialty items) and Peapod the rest for the following week. Hopefully, this makes things easier on us.

Friday, my husband is going to make corned beef, cabbage, and mashed potatoes to enjoy post-yoga. I can’t wait! We will be able to use the leftover corned beef for hash over the weekend.

We are planning a trip to the Children’s Museum on Saturday morning (after our hash) and hoping to meet my brother for a late lunch afterwards. If we are looking for something to pick at, we will make a charcuterie board to enjoy. It’s such an easy snack to assemble.

Sunday, I’ll take my 9AM class that I enjoy and we will do a brunch afterwards with pancakes and fruit — we haven’t made pancakes in a long time, so I’m really looking forward to this. We haven’t done pancakes in a while and this seems like a nice way to come down from the busy weekend. For dinner, we are going to keep it simple — and grill some chicken, throw some sprouted brown rice in the rice cooker, lettuce, tomato, and jalapeños. I also bought Primal’s Cilantro-Lime dressing to add to this!

Monday is a class day, so I’ll take leftovers from Sunday and call it a day. I’m sure my husband will put something together; I know we have a frozen pizza as an option.

Tuesday night is yoga and I like to run to Dig Inn afterwards — it is our special treat and I’m a big fan of their beets, their citrus salad, and roasted chicken breast with pesto on the side. This is the ultimate late-dinner food for me! (My husband has me get him the strangest combo: wild rice, sweet potatoes, mac&cheese, and meatballs.)

Wednesday night, my husband has a marathon pot-luck hosted by his running club, so I’ll be on my own to get dinner on the table. We will probably do something simple barbacoa bowls with a crockpot roast.

Thursday night is typically date night but my parents are coming up for the marathon; they’ll get in late, so we will knock out any leftovers and call it a day. If we don’t have leftovers, we can always order something.

I am going to try to get more smoothies in this week and keep balance with a play on the sandwich — instead of bread, I want to use two thick tomato slices and stuff it full of turkey, guac, and mustard.