Peek Into Our Week (SPRING!)

posted by Andrea | 03/18/2019

I know it’s technically not Spring quite yet… but we are SOOOOOO close! Just a couple more days!

My kids have been counting down the days until the official start of Spring because we told them we would put up the trampoline they got for Christmas “in the Spring” — which they interpreted as “the very first day of Spring”.

Since our backyard is still covered with snow, I don’t think they will be jumping on the trampoline any time soon, but it definitely IS on our to-do list over spring break (if the snow clears up!)

We have a short list of fun activities we hope to do over Spring Break this year — nothing crazy or expensive, but I’m certain our kids will enjoy themselves. Hopefully they’ll get tired out during the day so they go to bed nice and early, giving the adults a little extra time to relax in the evening.

I have 2 Netflix movies I want to watch sometime soon, 3 books on my phone, and I’m SLOWLY working my way through the most recent season of Fuller House.

I know that if I don’t finish these by the end of spring break, I won’t get to them until summer as I’ll be doing yard work most evenings once the weather warms up! 

It will warm up eventually…  right?

 

My Whole Grain Bread Baking Update: 

After several months of baking hard, dense, brick-like loaves of whole grain bread, I have “turned a corner” and am FINALLY making deliciously soft, fluffy, high-rising 100% whole grain bread with grain I grind myself at home!!! 

Seriously, I could put 100 more exclamation marks behind that last sentence… THAT’S how excited I am! 

Yes, yes, I know everyone wants “the recipe” but the truth is, I don’t really have one to share just yet.

I’ve been mixing and tweaking and changing and testing a compilation of at least 10 different recipes as I try to figure out what I like best. I have a whole notebook full of tips, ideas, measurements, weights, etc. that I’ve tried over the past 4 months… and I’m finally starting to figure out what methods seem to work well for me. 

Once I find a specific recipe that works every single time, THEN I’ll share it on the blog — but it will most likely be a while before that happens. 

HOWEVER, I can say that without a doubt, the biggest “game-changer” for me has been getting a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment! 

NutriMill sent me their Artiste stand mixer to review about a month ago… and WOW is it amazing! 

I’ve been able to mix 12+ dozen cookies at one time, and I’m told it can handle up to NINE pounds of bread dough (I’ve only tried 4 pounds so far). 

I can make the exact same recipe using the exact same ingredients and the bread will turn out significantly better, lighter, higher, softer, etc. if I knead it in the NutriMill versus kneading it by hand. 

I honestly think I would have given up on my whole grain bread baking journey if I hadn’t tried kneading the dough in a stand mixer — it makes THAT much of a difference! 

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Enough about me and my bread, here are some highlights from the kids…

Nora still LOVES school, her teacher, and all her classmates (she really does have such a fun class this year!)

She is taking a ballet class and seems to really enjoy it. I’m not big on dance classes, but we’re trying it until the season is finished in June! 

We also chopped her hair (per her request) — I love her with short hair! Plus, it’s SO much easier to brush! 

Simon is still basking in the glory of his birthday a couple weeks ago — all the new toys, special parties, fun crafts and games, special rewards at school, extra treats, etc. etc. 

He talks in detail about all his favorite birthday things, and he’s already helping James come up with ideas for his birthday party (in July!) 

In case you can’t tell, Simon still loves blue! 

James is such a funny boy — always cracking jokes, making silly faces, talking in strange voices, and trying to get everyone to laugh. 

He is BUSY and always getting into something. 

James has started taking Clara on as his little “project”. He’s always asking to feed her, “help” her with things, and he regularly brings her toys, water, snacks, etc. 

He’ll be the good big brother when Simon is gone all day at Kindergarten next year! 

Clara is still as cute as ever — of course, I’m not biased or anything.

Her hair is growing like crazy, which means pigtails are a regular occurrence (my favorite!) 

Clara is starting to talk, mimic, and make animal noises. She babbles non-stop during the day, and has a fairly low voice — which always catches people off guard considering how tiny she is.

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My Mother’s Ring: 

I got an early Mother’s Day gift this year… and by “gift” I mean, I totally picked it out on my own. πŸ™‚ 

I’ve had this exact ring pictured in my brain for years and years (because I always thought I’d have 5 children). I designed it to match my wedding band in terms of style as my wedding band has 5 diamonds in the exact same setting. 

NOTE: My mother’s ring (and my wedding band) were both custom-created by Engel’s Jewelers — the place I’ve purchased every single pieces of “real” jewelry I own!

The stones are my own birthstone (Alexandrite), and then the 4 kids’ birthstones (Citrine, Aquamarine, Ruby, Sapphire). I’m super happy with how it turned out! 

In case you haven’t noticed, Dave and I are pretty relaxed in the “gift-giving department”… in fact, we rarely ever get each other gifts for anything!

Dave is not a gift-giver, so if there’s something I want, I mention it to him and then say, “I’ll get it for myself sometime, OK?!” He just smiles and nods! πŸ™‚

It works out well for both of us! 

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Our Week’s Menu Plan:

This is what we actually ate last week… I’ve included our breakfast menu this week too.

One thing I want to mention… I roast 2 huge pans of vegetables every 3-4 days and then reheat a variety of them in my cast iron pan every single morning. I often eat them on a bed of spinach along with whatever else I make for breakfast. Dave and Clara often eat them as a side dish along with their breakfast. The older 3 usually do not eat them unless I “hide” them in eggs or quiche!

I get questions on this all the time, so I want you to know that I “practice what I preach” and I personally eat veggies for breakfast every single day

SUNDAY: 

Breakfast = homemade whole wheat cinnamon rolls, scrambled eggs, roasted vegetables, fruit

Dinner = leftover roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, stuffing, butternut squash, roasted vegetables, applesauce (pictured above)

MONDAY: 

Breakfast = oatmeal pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, roasted vegetables, fruit

Dinner = chicken soup, fresh bread, spinach salad, peanut butter truffles

TUESDAY: 

Breakfast = oatmeal pancakes, fried eggs, cheesy sausage balls, roasted vegetables, fruit

Dinner = tuna zoodle casserole, roasted veggies, applesauce, fresh bread, brownies

WEDNESDAY: 

Breakfast = cinnamon banana bread, scrambled eggs, roasted vegetables, smoothies

Dinner = baked chicken, oven roasted potatoes, roasted carrots, green beans, applesauce, fresh bread, Oreo truffles

THURSDAY: 

Breakfast = multi-grain waffles, scrambled eggs, sausage balls, roasted vegetables, fruit

Dinner = burgers on the grill (I made the buns), grilled veggies, lettuce salad, baked beans, no bake pudding pie (for Pi day!) 

FRIDAY: 

Breakfast = Oatmeal, leftover banana bread, roasted vegetables, fruit

Dinner = pizza sandwiches, raw veggies, fresh fruit, monster cookies

SATURDAY: 

Breakfast = poppyseed muffins, vegetable quiche, fresh fruit

Dinner = shrimp scampi (with zoodles), baked parmesan pollack, fresh fruit, applesauce, chia seed chocolate pudding 

I’ll be back in a few more weeks to share a Peek Into Our Spring Break!

Until then, I’d love to know what you’ve been up to…

Have you tried any new recipes?

Have you tackled any organizing projects (big or small)?

Do you have any fun vacations or family time scheduled?

Do you have a new “favorite thing” you’d like to share?

Happy (almost) Spring!! 

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40 comments

  1. Haley

    04/02/2019

    They are so cute.

    [Reply]

  2. Heather

    03/19/2019

    I’m always so impressed with how you incorporate so many vegetables into different meals. I love roasting and eating vegetables, but I never think about eating them on spinach leaves.
    Do you add any dressing, vinegar or olive oil to the salad and vegetables? Or eat plain? Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I’ve always really liked vegetables (even as a child) but for the last 2 years, I’ve really been working hard to incorporate as many as I can into everything we eat (so this didn’t happen overnight!!)

    Roasted veggies on spinach (with feta cheese) is honestly one of my most favorite breakfast foods — and yes, I completely understand how weird and counter-cultural that is! I wake up looking forward to eating it! haha! as for dressing, I use straight balsamic vinegar as I feel like it really brings of the flavors of roasted veggies.

    For other salads, I use this homemade honey mustard vinaigrette. It’s super delicious!

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  3. Rhonda

    03/19/2019

    I recently tried this yummy recipe:
    https://www.ayearofslowcooking.com/2009/02/asian-peanut-butter-pork-crockpot.html
    It is SOOOOO good!

    We are going to Chicago a few days for Spring Break (about 3 hour drive for us). We have tickets to Blue Man Group. I think the kids will love that. Also they will probably just be entertained by riding public transportation and being in a big city (we live in a town of 1200!)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yum… thanks for the recipe and have fun in Chicago!

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  4. Debbie

    03/19/2019

    I’m getting ready to leave in 2 days to head out to California for a women’s retreat with my mom and sister. I can’t wait to soak in some nature, worship, and learning from God’s Word. Your roasted veggies is what I make every weekend on Saturday or Sunday after church. My hubs eats it for dinner all week, and I eat it for lunch at work and dinner at home. I have to have something savory to eat it with and it’s delicious with your cheesy sausage meatballs, grilled salmon or chicken. For breakfast, I do a protein shake blended with ice, almond milk, and a cup of spinach and I’m off to work. I’ve also been cutting up fresh veggies as packing it for my afternoon snack with cheese or hummus. I’m hoping that by the end of the year the increase in vegetable in take will make a difference in the number on the scale like yours did. I still love your chocolate chip banana bread recipe, but recently switched to using almond flour and coconut sugar to help with the whole eating less sweets. First I used your recipe by substituting these 2 ingredients and it did not go well. LOL! I had no idea the measurements will need to be changed quite a bit for this to work. I found a great recipe online and it’s just as delicious! We’re getting ready to do our pantry by replacing the wire shelves. The supplies have been delivered for 2 weeks now but we just haven’t started it due to always having something to do in the weekends. I can’t wait to get this started and it’s 6 years overdue.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Guess what, I have a new (much healthier) banana bread recipe that I will hopefully share soon (I actually just finished eating a piece 2 minutes ago!) So stay tuned for that!

    In the mean time, enjoy California!!!!!
    And good luck with the pantry reno πŸ™‚

    [Reply]

    Debbie Reply:

    Ooooo, I can’t wait to see your new recipe!

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  5. Katie

    03/19/2019

    I LOVE my Bosch mixer! There is no way I could get the same results with whole wheat bread by hand that I do with the Bosch! One tip I have passed on countless times is that you can buy bread bags at the store in the ziploc section. I always seem be whatever the store brand is and they are thin and come with twisty ties. I make four loaves at a time and use these bags all the time whether freezing them or not. Not sure what kind of wheat you are using, but hard white wheat is my favorite for breads!

    [Reply]

  6. Samantha

    03/18/2019

    You mentioned you’d be busy with yard work soon! One of my goals the spring is to really β€œspruce up” my yard for the first time. Basically starting after a few years of not doing much besides mowing. I’d love a post about what you do or where to start. I’m all about small steps!

    [Reply]

    Leah Reply:

    Yes I would too! I’m a newbie and hoping to accomplish a lot this year.

    [Reply]

  7. Sarah Clews

    03/18/2019

    Thanks for saying your husband is not a gift giver. It’s something I still struggle with after almost 10 years of marriage–my husband is not a gift giver either. And I really like receiving gifts!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Dave has a lot of amazing qualities… gift giving is not one of them and we both know it!
    We are both much happier if I just pick out and purchase my own “gifts” especially since he knows I won’t every buy anything unless it’s a great deal!

    I’m guessing it’s even harder for you though, if you’re the type who likes receiving gifts. I’m more of an “acts of service” person versus gifts — and Dave is very good at acts of service.

    [Reply]

  8. Margaret

    03/18/2019

    Congratulations on your bread-baking breakthrough! You have inspired me to really think seriously (again) about getting a stand mixer. I’ve been flirting with the idea for years, but I’ve never quite pulled the trigger. I gave up bread-baking quite a few years ago, because it was just too painful, with my arthritis–I had a total shoulder replacement at the age of 55.
    If I didn’t have to hand-knead it….

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Margaret!
    The mixer does make the bread process much less labor intensive. That said, I’ve also never been more frustrated than these past 4 months trying to make whole grain bread — so it might not be worth buying a mixer and investing all that time πŸ™‚

    [Reply]

  9. Helen

    03/18/2019

    What is the toy that one of the boys (Simon?) is hammering pegs on? Looks super fun! I might like to get one for a grandchild. Your Peek into our Week updates are always so interesting – Great Work & Happy Springtime to all of you πŸ™‚

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    That’s James πŸ™‚ and I’m not sure what the toy is. It was at one of the play groups we attended.

    [Reply]

  10. Kristen @ Joyfully Thriving

    03/18/2019

    I love my stand mixer! Can’t imagine making bread without it! I have a great white bread recipe and have currently begun experimenting with wheat bread too. Oh, and I have the same bread pan with wavy edges. Love it! It bakes so nicely! Like you, we’re looking forward to having our whole family at home for Spring Break. Yay for teacher perks!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, spring break is a big perk of the teacher’s schedule — although we hate traveling during school breaks because it’s so busy and expensive as that’s when everyone else travels. Thankfully, we are happy to have “staycations” at home!
    And yes, the USA pans are my favorite!!

    [Reply]

  11. Chris

    03/18/2019

    For a new recipe, I made coconut cream baked steel cut oats.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    sounds yummy!!

    [Reply]

  12. Bethany

    03/18/2019

    This is unrelated to this post, but I was wondering if you still like your Eddie Bauer winter coat? Did it keep you warm even during this extremely cold winter?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, I still love it! I’ve purged most of my other coats and wear this one exclusively. It’s very wind and water resistant too!

    [Reply]

    Bethany Reply:

    That’s wonderful! I’m relocating from Southern California to Illinois so I know NOTHING about winter gear. I’m seriously considering getting your coat. It’s not available on the website anymore but I found it on Amazon!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh wow — you honestly might want something warmer then (like down).
    I’m born and raised in the harsh West Michigan winters so I might be a little “tougher” than someone from Souther Cali!
    That said, it IS a fantastic coat — you might just need to layer it with a sweater for your first winter πŸ™‚

    [Reply]

  13. ramona

    03/18/2019

    For St. Patricks Day, I tried a gluten free irish soda bread and it turned out so good! We did a side by side comparison with a couple different store bought versions for our company and mine was the only one gone! Completely gone!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I have a recipe for soda bread to try (not gluten free, but still super easy). I might have to give it a try!

    [Reply]

  14. Kate

    03/18/2019

    I’d love to see your recipe for the oatmeal pancakes sometime. I think my kids would like those! Also, when it starts getting more into spring, could you maybe post some tips on splitting and replanting plants? I need to do that this year- with hostas and daylilies, however, I’ve had bad luck in the past. I always say I have a “black thumb.” Ha!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    The oatmeal pancakes are fantastic — I am planning to post the recipe soon! I try to do one recipe a week, so they are ‘back logged’ a little!
    And yes, I’ll start thinking about posts regarding plants SOON. our ground is still frozen, but I’ll hopefully be out there digging up and splitting plants when it defrosts a little.
    Hostas and Daylilies are very forgiving — but the sooner you do them in the spring the better. Even better yet, do it in the fall so they can pop right up again in the spring πŸ™‚

    [Reply]

  15. Jen

    03/18/2019

    Oh my, Nora looks so grown up! Her haircut is adorable-but then I’m always partial to short hair. πŸ™‚

    Your ring is just lovely! Good job, Dave! πŸ˜‰

    Happy Spring, Dekkers!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, Dave is the best gift giver — LOL! I ALWAYS get “just” what I wanted! πŸ™‚

    [Reply]

  16. Annette Silveira

    03/18/2019

    Something you will have to stress when you post your recipe is that RESULTS WILL VARY. When I was baking bread every week the temperature and humidity made a difference in how much flour was needed, how long the dough took to rise and so many other things. I can just imagine the questions you will get and I hope you stress that each person will need to go on their own bread baking journey even though they have a great recipe to begin with.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    YES, for sure! This is one reason I’m very hesitant to even share a whole wheat bread recipe on my blog. I know how many failures I’ve had — all following recipes who say it’s the “best” or “easies” or “no-fail” bread recipe.

    [Reply]

  17. Ruth

    03/18/2019

    There is only one shocking thing I think I read that stopped me dead in my tracks…did you say that you were kneading your whole wheat dough BY HAND???!!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I know — craziness, but yes, I was doing it all by hand because I didn’t have a mixer. Needless to say, the mixer has mad a HUGE difference for me!

    [Reply]

  18. Ann

    03/18/2019

    Your mixer looks similar to my Bosch & Yes! It is a powerful kneading machine. I’m happy with it. I can make 6 loaves of bread in one recipe. (Then freeze extras)
    (I have a NutriMill wheat grinder.) So happy for your Bread Baking improvements! High fives!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    it’s almost exactly the same as the Bosch (all the attachments and accessories work with either — my accessories are actually all Bosch brand). My mixer is just a little smaller (and quite a bit less expensive!) haha!

    [Reply]

  19. Christina

    03/18/2019

    Congratulations on the bread accomplishment! That’s huge. I can’t wait for a recipe. How do you store your homemade bread? Mine always goes stale before we eat it all.

    Accomplishment for the week: Cleaning out the kids’ closets and going through all the kids’ books. We have several bags/boxes ready for goodwill and it feels so good to have pared down some of our stuff!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I usually slice one loaf and put it in a bread bag (I have several store-bought bread bags that I’ve saved). I put the rest (unsliced) in other bread bags in the freezer. This works well for us.

    [Reply]

    Christina Reply:

    Thanks! I’ll give that a try.

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