A Peek Into Our Week

posted by Andrea | 01/28/2019

We just finished up a fun-filled weekend away with friends, and we’re gearing up for a VERY cold, snowy week at home (hopefully with lots of snow days!)

Here’s a “peek” at what we’ve been up to recently!

Nora is taking a ballet class with a few friends from school one night a week. She seems to like it so far. She also started doing a few sewing and needlepoint crafts she got for Christmas.

And she was finally brave enough to jump into the big blob at Rebounderz — she did it once, hopped off, and got right back in line again. She must have jumped at least 20 more times while we were there the other day!

Simon missed out on a school field trip because of the snow days — hopefully they’ll reschedule it.

In the mean time, he’s been obsessed with Spiderman, Batman, Superman, and all transformers. He’s already making plans for a Transformers Birthday Party next month!

He has really shown an interest in art — drawing, coloring, painting, etc. and comes home with all sorts of fantastic artwork from school (I definitely do NOT save it all forever and ever!)

James is our monkey — always jumping off something, climbing on something, running, hopping, and skipping everywhere, and generally just acting goofy.

He sings all the time, and still earns his “Joyful James” nickname by being happy almost all the time.

Clara is walking (practically running) all over these days. She goes up and down the stairs with ease, she climbs up on the couch to sit with the big kids, she uses step stools to reach things she needs or wants, and she is a pro at pulling out kitchen chairs in order to climb up.

She has been protesting her naps the past 2 weeks (which is VERY uncharacteristic of her). I’m hoping it’s just a phase and she’ll go back to napping soon!

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Also… we FINALLY got some snow!

Although the kids have enjoyed riding their bikes all winter, it was really fun to FINALLY get some snow — especially since we got a couple snow days out of the deal too!

Dave had 2 snow days while the kids still had school! That has never happened before, and it was pretty nice! Of course, later in the week, the kids had a snow day while Dave still had school — not as nice for me!

Clara’s first official time in the snow! 

The amount of wet snow gear we have to hang and dry every day is absolutely astounding to me — I honestly can’t even imagine where we would put it all if we hadn’t added our mudroom on to our back entryway 4 years ago!

My Projects:

I purged 1 small bag of clothing from my closet, as well as a bag of James’ outgrown clothes and a bag of Clara’s outgrown clothes. Not much, but it still felt good to move it OUT of our house!

Since I had Dave home a bit more this past week, I took the opportunity to better organize (yet again) our pantry, freezer, refrigerator, and various kitchen cabinets and drawers.

After our eat-from-the-pantry challenge, I realized we had quite a bit of unused (and under-utilized) space in our kitchen, and if I just rearranged how I stored some of our things, I could move and have better access to the items I use more regularly.

Also, since I’ve been doing so much grain grinding and bread making the last few months, I have really changed how I use my kitchen — so a little rearranging was definitely a good thing.

I already feel more productive and efficient when I’m in the kitchen!  

What I’m Reading:

Over the past months, I’ve spent most of my free time reading books about making yeast and/or sourdough breads. In my head, I’m basically an expert… however, I still have a LONG way to go when it comes to my actual bread-baking abilities!

Here are just a few of the books I’ve read via our library or my 3-month trial of Kindle Unlimited (I’m bummed that my trial will be up in just a few more weeks!)

I found some time to watch 2 more episodes of When Calls the Heart on Netflix. I have not made time for the Marie Kondo series — I’ll get to it eventually! 

Our Week’s Menu:

SUNDAY:

MONDAY:

TUESDAY:

WEDNESDAY:

THURSDAY:

FRIDAY:

SATURDAY:

I still can’t believe it’s February ! 

I have a few more inside projects I’d like to finish over the next month or so — and then, before you know it, we’ll be working outside again and gearing up to FINALLY tackle our laundry room renovation (hey, it’s only been 9 months!)

What has your New Year looked like so far?

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19 comments

  1. Alissa W

    01/30/2019

    I tried your baked sandwiches tonight- so good! I find your weekly meal plans super helpful especially for figuring out side dishes. Thank you for sharing them.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh good — we LOVE those sandwiches (and they are fantastic as leftovers!)
    Glad my meal plans are helpful for you!

    [Reply]

  2. Julie DeWyse

    01/30/2019

    Check out sourdoughschoolhouse on Instagram if you want someone to show you how to make sourdough good. I can’t eat gluten but I check them out just for the pics. It’s and e-course I believe. I’m not sure of the details since I can’t eat it I probably wouldn’t make it.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    ok thanks so much!!

    [Reply]

  3. Liane

    01/29/2019

    Revisiting Chicken Cordon Bleu:
    I love reading people’s menus for inspiration. And I love Chicken Cordon Bleu made the traditional way, but what a mess it makes, so I followed the link to your recipe and then I realized you had not changed it from the original except to say “or make your own”. I would love to find a version of the recipe that omits two products I will never use again: Stove Top Take Extra Blood Pressure Medicine Due to Sodium Stuffing (hehe) and Campbell’s Chicken and Glue Recipe Condensed Soup (hehe again).

    I think I found my answer/solution to the problem but I need to tweak it, and there are no measurements — I just winged it.

    I figured if my cream cheese, milk and cheese combo cream sauce would work for Alfredo I’d try it here. I stopped buying shredded cheese due to the antibiotics in it (natamycin — I’m allergic to so many antibiotics, being a child of the 50s when we were given huge amounts even for a skinned knee it seemed). I’ve been grating my cheeses with my food processor and freezing them in seal a meal bags. So for my chicken I made that sauce with Swiss.

    For the stuffing I pondered what was in the stuffing besides bread, onions, seasoning and salt and came up with this idea. I have poultry seasoning, I have three or four slices of stale French bread (is there any other kind LOL — no wonder the French call it Pain Perdu (lost bread)), plus the usual ingredients — celery and onion so I made a teeny batch of stuffing and et voila — transformed the recipe into a relatively low sodium gum and filler free but delicious success. I’ve been saving ham and chicken scraps in the freezer:

    Every time I buy one of those tiny ham chunks that are about 10 – 14 ounces for a two person recipe I have diced the whole thing at once and put the rest in a vac seal bag. And when I find a very good price for chicken breasts (Rocky or Rosie only) I roast a half dozen or so at a time and bag up the ones I don’t immediately use in vac seal bags also. It only takes a short amount of time to defrost one and dice it for soup or casseroles. I only defrost enough to be able to cut it.

    I found a ton of Fresh Saver bags at the dollar store and would have bought all of them. Then I felt guilty and selfish LOL so put half back for someone else. Someone else apparently never came because the next time I went back to the dollar store for aluminum foil wrappers they were all still there so I bought the rest. Some are the kind with zipper tops — you can evacuate the air out the bag with a hand held tool which is very compact. These work really well for opening, removing what you need and resealing. And zero freezer burn. I found a flank steak from 3 months back looking like the day I bought it (used regular sealing bag, not the reusable version)

    This got into the TL;DR category but I figured if you got this far you’d have some great ideas!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yup, I always use poultry seasoning in my stuffing (the recipe is on my blog). As for the soup, any “cream of _____ ” soup can be replicated pretty easily with a combination of greek yogurt, broth, dijon mustard, maybe a little flour for thickening, and a few seasonings.
    And yes, our freezer is stocked with pre-cooked, pre-portioned roasted chicken, grilled chicken, ham chunks, ground sausage, ground beef, ground turkey, stew meat, etc. etc. Makes dinner time SO much easier!

    [Reply]

  4. Amy

    01/28/2019

    I would love to see a post with more detail about your weekly meal plans now that you are cooking more from scratch than before. With details like what you pulled from the freezer for this week, what you doubled/made ahead for the freezer, what you prepped in advance, what you made the day of, etc.

    I get so overwhelmed with trying to fit it all into the day & still serving nutritious food to my family.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Amy, as you’ll see in my meal plan, almost every meal has some type of “fresh fruit” or “raw veggies” listed — if you’re overwhelmed, just slice up some apples and carrots and call that your side dish.
    Meal planning and cooking nutritious foods does not have to be fancy or complicated. Just pick a few fruits and veggies you know your family will eat and stick to those for a while.
    Also, almost ALL the meat I use is prepped ahead of time and pulled from the freezer. I periodically cook a huge amount of meat and put it in the freezer, then I’m set for a couple months again. I did it over Christmas break and I’ll do it again over Dave’s Spring Break.

    [Reply]

  5. Heidi

    01/28/2019

    I’m so curious- what gets you a snow day in a Michigan? Here in SC, an inch or two earns us several days because we just don’t have the equipment to clear the roads. We also do “e-learning virtual” days when it snows- which is so nice to not have to make them up in the spring! As a teacher I’m always so curious about how schools other places operate.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — many, many inches of snow, sub-zero temps, and ice! Mainly ice though!
    If the roads are covered with ice between 5 and 7am, we’ll get off of school.

    We’re in the middle of a HUGE blizzard right now and have had off school since last week Thursday (it’s already called of for tomorrow as well). We have a couple FEET of snow going on right now, we can’t even plow it fast enough!

    [Reply]

  6. Mandy

    01/28/2019

    Do you bring Clara to Rebounderz? I’ve wanted to go a few times with my kids (my youngest is 16 months) but I’m always worried the 16 month old is too little.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    no, we don’t bring her (but we could — 2 and under are free). My parents live just down the road from Rebounderz so we always drop her off there 🙂

    [Reply]

  7. Jamie Durkin

    01/28/2019

    I love getting a sneak peek in other people’s lives… Quick questions, I LOVE the step stool Claire is using, do you know where it was from or where I can buy a similar one?

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — that is not a “step stool” it is a VERY expensive (ridiculously expensive, if you ask me!) adjustable Stokke Tripp-Trapp child’s chair.
    We currently have 3 chairs for the 3 older kids — fortunately for us, we found them all on Craigslist for a fraction of the price.
    The chairs are amazing (and they do work well as a step stool for smaller children) but super expensive. That said, if you want to splurge on something that should last you through many children, the Tripp-Trapp chairs are good investments!

    [Reply]

  8. JJ

    01/28/2019

    I love how you dry the mittens!!! You are a good problem solver!!! And look how happy Clara looks to be with the big kids in the snow–such a big deal to them and the big kids!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, the mittens drying over the heating duct works super well for us! And yes, Clara loves being with “the big kids”!

    [Reply]

  9. Melissa

    01/28/2019

    Hi Andrea,

    I stumbled upon this website: https://artisanbreadinfive.com/ and thought of you. Maybe you’ve already read their books/blog. I’ve not tried their recipes so I can’t speak on them, but maybe they interest you. Enjoy baking! If I weren’t working during the day (and then at night with my four kids) I would be baking my heart out. 🙂

    [Reply]

  10. Chris

    01/28/2019

    You have a nut chopper like my mom has. I should start scouring thrift stores for one!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    my nut chopper is from my grandma but still works well!

    [Reply]