June Photo Dump

We did a lot of friend visiting, walks, and local fun in June. Here are some snapshots of life as a Richards!

20130716-103802.jpg
Hanging out at Ben’s second cousin’s first birthday party
20130716-103841.jpg
Brian’s aunt got Ben this puppy for Christmas. It hooks up to the computer and you can teach it to say the child’s name and favorite food, animal, and color. Ben loes hearing it sing to him!
20130716-103905.jpg
Ben’s response to his Baby Neptune dvd. This mama loves that Ben sits long enough to get her a quiet lunch
20130716-103915.jpg
This clothes pin wreath is quite possibly my first non-reenacting related craft since Ben was born. I haven’t taken it down yet because I love it so much!
20130716-103935.jpg
We got a little baby pool and Ben loves splashing and rolling around in it
20130716-103948.jpg
He loves his water toys!
20130716-104006.jpg
Nose wrinkle cheeseball face!
20130716-104017.jpg
Ben will eat anything off a fork
20130716-104031.jpg
Ben hasn’t quite started crawling yet but can roll wherever he wants to go. Brian texted this photo to me when I was running errands one day. Time to baby proof the house!
20130716-104044.jpg
Working with Daddy
20130716-104058.jpg
I had a GREAT trip to the baby consignment store and found a simple sling that was exactly my size for $8
20130716-104110.jpg
We took a weekend trip to Chicago so Brian could attend Word Camp Chicago at the end of the month and this is the gorgeous and comfortable apartment we rented.
20130716-104119.jpg
Ben checked out the apartment and decided wood floors are slippery
20130716-104136.jpg
My sanity-saving travel buddies on the blue line train in Chicago
20130716-104148.jpg
My baby and me at Navy Pier. You can faintly see the massive bruise on his forehead where he came in contact with the recliner the day we left for Chicago
20130716-104200.jpg
The view from the outdoor patio at the Shedd where we ate lunch
20130716-104214.jpg
We loved the jellyfish exhibit
20130716-104233.jpg
Seahorse!

What We Ate: 7/7 – 7/13

Confession: I didn’t keep track of our meals last week at all. Brian was sick for a few days so I ate a hodge podge of whatever was in the fridge for several days. I did make homemade chicken noodle soup and chicken black bean tacos at some point during the week but I can’t remember which days they were.

In other slightly related news, our new dishwasher comes today! When we renovated the kitchen in 2011, we planned on keeping the majority of our appliances and slowly replacing them as time allowed. We got the new microwave in January 2012, new stove in April 2013, and finally a new dishwasher! We picked one that was rated as super quiet, has a stainless steel tall tub, hidden control panel (great to keep buttons away from tiny fingers, reviews say it cleans extremely well, and is white so it will blend into the cabinets. Hopefully we will get it installed tonight and I can review it soon!

What We Ate: 6/30 – 7/6

Sunday
Lunch: Chicago Trip (picnic at the Aquarium)
Dinner: Chicago Trip (McDonald’s on the drive home)

Monday
I’m going to call this day a complete wash. Both my friend who was staying with us and I got food poisoning from our burgers on Sunday night and I have no recollection of what Brian ate. I know I choked down about 4 cups of water and that was it.

Tuesday
Lunch: (B) Leftover fajitas, perhaps, (K) Chicken broth
Dinner: I had baked sweet potatoes. I’m not sure what Brian ate

Wednesday
Lunch: Mystery lunch. I was running errands when Brian ate and still not quite hungry for anything
Dinner: Rotisserie chicken from Costco and 4 cheese bow pasta

Thursday
Lunch: Sandwiches at Grandma’s house after the parade
Dinner: Marinaded and grilled filet mignon, grilled tiny potatoes with butter and kale, corn on the cob

Friday
Lunch: Family reunion
Dinner: Popcorn

Saturday
Lunch: Jimmy John’s/Memorial Service food
Dinner: Popcorn

What We Ate: 6/23 – 6/29

Sunday
Breakfast: (B) Eggs, ham, and hash browns, (K) Greek omelette and bacon *
Dinner: Burgers at Bagger Dave’s

Monday
Lunch: (B) Pizza rolls, (K) Leftover omelette and bacon
Dinner: Leftover lasagna, garlic bread, (B) green beans, (K) California blend veggies

Tuesday
Lunch: (B) Sandwich, (K) White bean and kale soup
Dinner: Oven baked chicken fajitas

Wednesday
Lunch: BBQ pulled pork from the freezer
Dinner: Grilled cheese and tomato soup

Thursday
Lunch: (B) Sandwich, (K) Grilled cheese
Dinner: (B) Some sort of sandwich, (K) Mediterranean salad **

Friday
Lunch: Chicken sandwich on a pretzel roll
Dinner: Chicago Trip (grilled chicken, roasted red pepper, artichoke, and mozzarella on chibata)

Saturday
Lunch: Chicago Trip (sandwiches)
Dinner: Chicago Trip (Chicago-style deep dish pizza)

* Brian’s mom was in town for an extended family member’s graduation open house and invited us to breakfast at a small, localish place (25 minute drive). We were so full, we skipped lunch.

** A town about 20 minutes from us has a street performer series every Thursday so we packed the stroller and headed out last Thursday night

What We Ate: 6/16 – 6/22

Sunday
Breakfast: Crockpot breakfast casserole adapted from this recipe (I used shredded carrots and zucchini, ham, and spinach), muffins, blueberry crisp *
Dinner: Baked broccoli and carrot alfredo, strawberry rhubarb crisp adapted from this recipe

Monday
Lunch: (B) Chicken fingers and French fries, (K) Chicken finger wrap with shredded cheddar and spinach
Dinner: Cast iron skillet chicken pot pie, leftover strawberry rhubarb crumble

Tuesday
Lunch: (B) Leftover pot pie, (K) Leftover alfredo
Dinner: Mac and cheese (blue box)

Wednesday
Lunch: Leftover pot pie
Dinner: Marinaded steak kebabs, grilled red potatoes, (K) grilled veggie kebab

Thursday
Lunch: Trader Joe’s frozen vegetable fried rice with added edamame and egg
Dinner: (B) Out with friends, (K) White bean and kale soup (recipe coming soon!)

Friday
Lunch: (B) Leftover Thursday dinner, (K) Leftover white bean and kale soup
Dinner: Dinner at our friends’ house. I contributed chocolate moose tracks ice cream and waffle bowls

Saturday
Lunch: (B) White bean and kale soup, (K) Loaded baked potato from Wednesday’s potatoes
Dinner: Stauffer’s lasagna, garlic bread, green beans

* Breakfast on Sunday was our last meal with the full group before going our separate ways so we planned a large brunch. It was incredible and filling! We both skipped lunch since we were too full still.

Classic Meatloaf

I made meatloaf for dinner last Monday. I don’t know why meatloaf has gotten such a bad rap over the years! Brian was a much pickier eater when we got married and I was surprised that he wanted to eat it at all. It has turned out to be one of our favorite meals. This is the recipe that we’ve always used and although it has evolved since we discovered it (I have no clue where we got it to begin with), it has only gotten better.

Ingredients
1 lb Ground beef
1 Egg
1 Onion, chopped
3/4 c. Milk
1 1/4 c. Bread crumbs
Salt & pepper to taste

Sauce:
1/3 c. Ketchup
2 Tbs Brown sugar
1 Tb Mustard
1 Tb BBQ sauce

Directions
Combine beef, egg, onion, milk, and bread crumbs in a mixing bowl (mixing by hand is the best if you can handle it!). Add salt and pepper to taste. Put meat mixture in a greased 5×9 loaf pan. Mix ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, and BBQ sauce  in a small dish. Spread over the top of the loaf.
Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

What We Ate: 6/9 – 6/15

Starting this week, I’m going to link to any recipes I’ve found online (usually through Pinterest). I’ve also gone back through the last several weeks and linked up those meals too. One of my goals is to slowly start adding recipes I’ve collected from family, cookbooks, or other sources to the blog as well, hopefully as we eat them. You should see at least 2 coming your way shortly!

Sunday
Lunch: Cheese ravioli with marinara, steamed green beans, and garlic bread *
Dinner: Huevos Rancheros served with plain greek yogurt (eaten like sour cream) and tortilla chips

Monday
Lunch: Leftover huevos rancheros
Dinner: Meatloaf, baked red skin potatoes, green beans, (K) baked sweet potato

Tuesday
Lunch: (B) Turkey sandwich, (K) Leftover linguine with red sauce and asparagus from Brian’s date night meal
Dinner: Leftover meatloaf, mashed potatoes, roasted asparagus

Wednesday
Lunch: (B) Turkey sandwich, (K) Last of the meatloaf and mashed potatoes
Dinner: Another date night! We went to Red Robin to redeem my free birthday burger **

Thursday
Lunch: (B) Turkey sandwich, (K) Cheddar and black bean quesadilla with greek yogurt and salsa
Dinner: Grilled steak, chive and butter baked potatoes (also grilled), roasted carrots

Friday
Lunch: (B) Turkey sandwich, (K) Cheddar and black bean quesadilla with greek yogurt and salsa
Dinner: Frozen alfredo chicken meal from Aldi

Saturday
Lunch: McDonald’s (traveling)
Dinner: Jet’s Pizza and salad ***

* Yup, pretty much the exact same lunch as last Sunday. Ben and I had a playdate with a former coworker and her two kids less than an hour after we got home from church and I knew this meal takes about 15 minutes to put together.

** A friend of mine who was recently engaged invited us to an engagement party in the couple’s honor on Wednesday. The party was conveniently near my parents’ house so we dropped Ben off a little early and went out to dinner, just the two of us.

*** Good friends of ours from college moved to LA 4 years ago and only come back once or twice a year. The whole college group, Club 68, got together over Saturday to Sunday to catch up and for those who hadn’t, meet Ben. We eat really well when we’re together but pizza always seems to be on the list.

Mary Mary Quite Contrary

I finally got my vegetable garden planted last week. Yes, I know it was super late!

I never plant any early producers that need to get in right away (no asparagus, leaf lettuces, strawberries, radishes, green onion, etc) because May is historically a horribly busy month for us. Between birthdays, our anniversary, and preparing for our first reenactment of the year at Greenfield Village, there is never enough time to get myself to the farmers’ market, weed, spread dirt, put up the rabbit fence, lay weed-blocking fabric, and get the plants in the ground between the frost-safe time (usually around the second week of May) and Memorial Day.

The contents of the garden varies from year to year, especially since I was largely pregnant last summer so I did the bare minimum to keep things from getting overgrown. This year I weeded and prepped both sections of the garden; the south bed where we pulled out 3 large trees planted only inches from the house the summer after we moved in and the L garden next to the driveway. The L garden was here when we moved in and I have fond memories of my Grandpa coming over first thing on the morning we moved in to weed, put up fences and plant a forest of bush beans. Grandma told me that Grandpa always planted too many beans in their garden too! Now that Grandpa is gone, cleaning out the L bed and planting my beans (vine on teepees, not bushes) makes me feel a little closer to him.

In the south bed, we have a patio tomato, a yellow pear tomato, a purple sweet pepper plant, a yellow sweet pepper, two squashes, a yellow crook-neck and a zucchini, and my experiment of the year, two sweet potato vines. The time needed until maturity for sweet potatoes is longer than I anticipate having left this year (I think it’s close to 140 days) but it’s worth a shot! There is also a largeish lavender plant and chives at the far end of the bed. Since those are perennials, I don’t have to worry about them much.

The L bed will have 2 bean teepees with 3 vines planted at the base of each leg; 18 total, and Brian’s one request, the pumpkin plant. That space needs a bit more work before I can say that it’s actually finished but that should be done tomorrow if the weather holds out.

I’m going to mulch the south bed but I read somewhere that I should hold off on mulching until the plants are established (3 or so weeks) so they don’t feel too crowded and die. I don’t mind delaying mulching at all! It’s one of my least favorite outdoor chores.

What We Ate: 6/2 – 6/8

This week was fun because we had so much going on. My birthday was the 5th and Brian’s mom came over on Wednesday to take us out for dinner and spend the night and then my parents came over on Friday night so Brian and I could celebrate my birthday by going out by ourselves. It’s not often that we get to go out twice in one week!

Sunday
Lunch: Cheese ravioli, garlic bread, broccoli
Dinner: Ice cream, string cheese, (K) Spring Onion noodle soup from Trader Joe’s

Monday
Lunch: Black bean quesadillas
Dinner: Chuck roast in the crock pot with potatoes, carrots, and onion

Tuesday
Lunch: (B) BBQ chicken sandwich with leftover BBQ chicken, (K) leftover roast
Dinner: Baked chicken fajitas (these were awesome!)

Wednesday
Lunch: Panera (broccoli cheese soup)
Dinner: On The Border (carne asada with cilantro lime rice and veggies)

Thursday
Lunch: Leftover chicken fajitas
Dinner: Roasted asparagus, goat cheese and honey on wheat crackers, and popcorn

Friday
Lunch: A doughnut each (National Doughnut Day!), (B) Black bean quesadilla, (K) Black bean and sweet red pepper quesadilla
Dinner: Date Night! Local Italian place Mangiamo. It’s in a giant, old Victorian mansion. Brian ordered Parmesan crusted chicken with creamy red sauce and linguine and I picked slow roasted beef shoulder with mashed potatoes, broccolini, and shaved root vegetables.

Saturday
Lunch: Cousin’s son’s first birthday party (brats, wonderful baked beans, potato salad)
Dinner: (B) Tacos from my On The Border carne asada, (K) Leftover beef shoulder

What We Ate: 5/26 – 6/1

One of the things I’d like to do on this blog is record what we ate each week to make myself more aware of how I’m feeding my family. I’ve attempted making meal plans at the beginning of the week in the past but have never been able to fully commit. Maybe listing our meals after the fact will be a baby step in that direction?

In our house, breakfast is on our own since we get up at different times. The exception would be special occasions, holidays, and sometimes Sundays when I might make pancakes or oatmeal. I make Brian’s lunch about half of the time so he doesn’t have to take more time off of work during his lunch break. I also gladly trade making his lunch if he feeds Ben! Dinner is always a family activity and is becoming more so as Ben grows. We don’t usually eat at the table like real adults yet but we’re closer than we were last year!

Sunday: Reenacting

Monday
Lunch: Reenacting
Dinner: Leftover pizza and the last package of frozen cinnamon breadsticks

Tuesday
Lunch: (B) Sandwich, (K) Salad leftovers from weekend
Dinner: Homemade mac & cheese

Wednesday
Lunch: (B) Sandwich, (K) Mac & cheese leftovers
Dinner: Bean soup with ham and beer bread

Thursday
Lunch: (B) Mach & cheese leftovers, (K) Grilled sharp cheddar and spinach on sourdough
Dinner: (Friends for dinner) BBQ chicken legs and thighs, steamed green beans, Supreme pasta salad

Friday
Lunch: Leftover bean soup
Dinner: Clean out the fridge night

Saturday
Lunch: McDonalds (treat we promised ourselves if we got up early and did yard work)
Dinner: Clean out the fridge night