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August 22, 2016

Back to School | This Week's Menu

Back to School!

This morning Emma started her last year of Preschool.  She's in a class with 7 old friends, 2 new friends and an enthusiastic teacher.  They are the big kids at school - and she couldn't be more thrilled.  There was not as much of that shyness or timidness that accompanied her in years past.  She loves her school, she loves her friends and she is pumped.

Each year I write this post, of going back to school and each year it feels about the same, a little bittersweet.  After two months of 100 degree weather, we woke up to a crisp 65 degree morning and it really did feel like it is time for the school year to begin.

I feel a bit like we earned school this year, though, we are ready.  We did summer right.  We were at the pool, we took long morning walks, we played in the yard, we had lazy days and nights (and dinners)... and we are getting a little stir crazy around here ; )

 This is her last year before Kindergarten.  Her last year before mandatory 5 days a week, 7 hours a day.  In years past, she went 3-4 days a week and I picked her up at 2:30.  This year it is 4 days and I'm picking her up at noon.  Instead of having lunch with her friends and napping, we'll have lunch together and more down time at home.  I'm just savoring this last year of time we have together at home before it is gone... and she's thrilled to not have to take a nap, of course.  It means that I'll have to get up and do some work early in the morning, and probably a little more at night, but I'm hoping I can still keep the boat afloat while stealing all the time with her I can.

As always around this time of year, I'm looking forward to getting back into routine.  I'm ready to cook again... we've been pretty lazy in the kitchen this summer.  The Weekly Menu Planning is back with the help of the Dinner Planning Tablet.  I'm going to put a new focus on Family Dinners here on the blog.  It is something that we always focus on in our home, and I'm going to talk more about it here and how we make it happen - I know it can be hard.

I already have some posts planned for this week that I'm hoping will get you all inspired to gear up for a new season of Family Dinners, too, no matter what that might look like for you.  Last night, my parents sent out a photo of the dinner they had set for themselves (for 2) by the pool.  They could have set it at the island with the TV on, but they didn't.  It was a beautiful night and they made the effort to make it special.  That's family dinner.  A little effort.  It looks a little different for everyone (as it should), but it should feel the same - making an effort and a priority to spend quality time with each other on a daily basis.

Our Menu for the Week :

Spaghetti & Meatballs

Over the weekend, we cleaned out my parents' over-abundant tomato crop and I made a huge batch of Garden Tomato Sauce - a first for me.  (In other news, we just now harvested our first tomato from our garden...)  I'll share the recipe soon.  So, so good.  I also made 30 meatballs (easier to make than you think...) + I used some of the meatball mixture to make two meatloafs that we will have later in the week.  The extra sauce and the meatballs will go into the freezer for easy meals later.

Apricot Glazed Salmon & Couscous

I'm going to try swapping the Chicken for Salmon tonight.  I've grilled and baked the chicken in the past (and like both), but I'll probably bake the salmon with the apricot sauce to keep it from burning too much on the grill.  I'll let you know how it turns out.  And if you haven't tried the couscous, you must.  I'll have it leftover for lunch all week long.

Meatloaf & Mashed Potatoes

As mentioned above, I used the same mixture from the meatball recipe to form the meatloaf.  You could use the exact recipe for the meatloaf if you like (it is delicious), but it is easier for me (and close enough) to use the same for both.  For this dinner, I'll reheat the meatloaf, make mashed potatoes, roast carrots (instead of green beans) and make the very yummy roasted garlic sauce (that is a part of the original meatloaf recipe).

Classic Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Colorful Carrots

Lemon Thyme Chicken

I'm not sure if I'll grill or bake these, but it is a weekly staples around here with sliced tomatoes, and a green veggie.

Mr. Darcy, Emma and Daddy

And if you want to know what I look like after I've rolled out of bed and taken Mr. Darcy on an hour walk.  This.  This is what I look like most days.   Now, don't you feel better about yourself?  You're welcome.  ; )


  1. Hooray for family dinners!

  2. Enjoy these years...they fly past all to fast! A suggestion for the Apricot Salmon. I have been doing a lot of salmon "en papillote" this summer to keep the heat out of the kitchen but have discovered that it is fast, easy and little to clean-up...bonus! I take a large square of parchment paper, score on the diagonal, place a bed of vegetables whatever you might have on hand - zucchini, peppers, green beans, yellow beans etc, season and place your salmon fillet (skinless) on top, pour some of the apricot glaze over the top and seal the packet by rolling and folding the two edges. Do one packet per person. Place the packets on one of those trays for the BBQ that have the holes and place on the preheated BBQ for 10 minutes (I do mine on a med/high setting with the lid down) The apricot glaze sound fantastic and I am going to try that one this week! I may place a few slices of lemon on top too! Thank you for all the ideas and suggestions.

  3. Great post! I'm looking forward to getting back into a dinner routine too once summer business settles. Can't wait for your season Family Dinners on the blog!

  4. You look great! You're a working Mom with a beautiful home, a sweet husband, darling daughter and pup that needs walks. You're doing it all! Enjoy this time and be happy!

  5. Hi Jenny-- lovely post. Where are your planters from on your front stoop? Thank you!


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