Meal Plan Sunday

One of our traditions is that on Sunday mornings we do a little informal kitchen inventory and menu planning and then go to the grocery store for our weekly provisions. It’s a nice bonus to do it at a time when the rest of the world is at church because then we can shop in a near-empty store. We’ve been going to Aldi lately, which maybe I’ll say more about at another time, but right now I’ll tell you that we got everything we needed for these meals plus, you know, the rest of our weekly stuff, for about $150. We used to spend $200-250 at Kroger. So satisfying!

I figured I’d share the menu plan, but before I get into it, here are a couple of things I made last week that I really liked:

One of many variations on a grains/greens/beans bowl. Tahini yogurt sauce and roasted sweet potatoes make this one of my favorites.
Butternut squash risotto with a poached egg. Could have used some kind of toasted nuts or something for crunch.

Here’s the plan for this week — and, if I think of it, I’ll follow up next Sunday with photos of the favorites:

Sunday: Three Cheese Tortellini with mushrooms, kale, and Field Roast (CW)

Monday: Big Salad. Probably a kale base with slow-roasted tomatoes, roasted garbanzo beans, artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives, feta. Maybe a grain as well.

Tuesday: Jambalaya (CW)

Wednesday: Slow-cooker curry and brown rice. Coconut milk base with sweet potatoes, bell peppers, garbanzo beans, and some really good Thai red curry paste from the Asian supermarket.

Thursday: Some kind of wild rice soup that CW is making from A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen

Friday: Creamy tomato soup (also from AYIAVK) and grilled cheese sandwiches. I’m going to get the Good Bread.

Six Years

It’s our six year anniversary! I went back to look for wedding and honeymoon photos for this post and had a lovely stroll down memory lane.

2013

The day feels so crisp in my memory, but it also feels like a lifetime ago. I think primarily that’s because our day-to-day life has changed so much since having the twins. Like today, we spent the morning snuggled up in bed with them while they watched Curious George and we got an extra half hour of sleep, allowing us to get out of bed at the luxurious hour of 6:45. We wrangled them in the yard while I cleaned off the back porch and CW mowed the lawn, both of us legitimately excited to get these two neglected chores checked off. Right now, CW has taken them down to the neighborhood playground and I’m here enjoying the quiet house for a little while (a truly great gift!).

Tonight, though, we will head out on a date and enjoy some of our favorite special-occasion treats — fresh oysters, martinis, something wonderful for dinner, dessert with Really Good Coffee, and possibly an additional drink at a Second Location — and we’ll get a lyft back home so no one has to be the driver. We’ll get to have a whole night of enjoyable conversation without (we hope) anyone interrupting us to scream about anything.

I braved my TimeHop app today for oyster photos (please note that is November 9, 2019 and therefore I only looked back at the previous two years; I could not really bear to go back three years to see the morning-after-the-election tears) just to show you our tradition. I’ll make sure to snap another one tonight!

2019 and better than ever

Fridays

I work from home on Fridays, so it’s a great opportunity for me to head out for a longer run on a day when it won’t eat into family time (just work time, heh). I love starting my day this way, and I often make it even more fun by running in a different part of town after dropping the kids off at school.

Their “school” is a daycare, by the way, which means that they have to provide meals— breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack. They don’t also have to provide breakfast and coffee for parents, but they do. In the parents’ lounge just off the main entrance, there’s always a huge pot of coffee and a tray of something like muffins, mini bagels, or biscuits. But on Fridays, there are cinnamon rolls. Warm, soft, cinnamon rolls with a drizzle of icing on them. Y’all. They are SO GOOD.

What I’ve been doing is grabbing one on my way out the door and leaving it in my car for post-run fuel. It’s not exactly still warm an hour later, but it’s still pretty damned delicious. Today I even leveled up by placing a mobile order with Starbucks to pick up right after my run so I had hot coffee to go with it. It’s taken me over forty years, but I feel like I’ve finally learned some things about how to do life.

Wants

I am feeling very acquisitive and greedy and covetous lately, but am trying not to spend all my moneys, especially with the holidays coming up. So I basically keep window shopping on the internet and then closing the tabs. Here’s a list of what I’m unreasonably obsessing about right now. How about you?

  • Another dog. I just feel like it’s time to bring another pet into our household and a dog is the right fit and there are always so many available for adoption. We’d want to adopt a younger adult dog who gets along well with kids and with other dogs and who, ideally is already good with crate and house training. And I frequently see dogs fitting that description on the local humane society and rescue websites. But now is not the right time. Maybe this will be revisited after the new year?
  • A Garmin Fenix 6 running watch. Maybe it was Janae’s glowing review or maybe it’s just the fact that my Apple watch, now 3+ years old, is starting to get less reliable. (It randomly crashes and restarts during the day, which is Not Great, Bob.) But really, I’m finding now that when I want to do specific workouts, the metrics it’s able to display don’t necessarily give me the information I need. Case in point: Tuesday’s track workout gone wrong. I used to use Garmins before the days of the Apple watch, and I think I’m about ready to go back. It’s just very likely I’ll choose an older/cheaper model.
  • A pair of marigold point Rothy’s. I just bought a pair of maritime navy points and it was a tough decision, y’all. I really wanted the navy and the marigold but I eventually decided the navy would be more versatile. But my heart still yearns.
  • New jeans. I can convince myself I need new jeans roughly once every three weeks. I have far too many jeans. The linked ones aren’t even available in my size. WHY AM I EVEN LOOKING AT THEM. I love jeans.

I am a Powerlifter

I started a 4-week intro to powerlifting class in January with a friend of mine, and we liked it so much that we continued on with our trainer after the class ended and have been lifting about twice a week ever since. It’s been such a fun addition to my fitness pursuits!

Before I started the class, I thought “powerlifting” was a general term that encompassed just… all manner of lifting heavy. That is not the case, as it turns out! It’s actually focused on three lifts: squats, bench presses, and deadlifts. So we work on getting better at those three along with a variety of other accessory strength exercises that will help us toward those goals.

Today was our second session of the week, which is usually deadlift day. So…we did a lot of deadlifts. (Squats and benches were Monday.) We also did planks, overhead/military presses, bent-over rows, lat pull-downs, half-kneeling torso rotations, dead bugs, and probably a few other things I’m forgetting. Or trainer mixes it up in a really engaging way and is super knowledgeable, so it’s always a good workout.

If you look at what I’m lifting, the numbers might not be super impressive, but I’m going to own it and call myself a powerlifter anyway. Here’s why: yesterday at the track, I was listening to a panel discussion on why it’s an exciting time in women’s running, and one of the themes of the discussion was the need to open up running and make it accessible to not only women in general, but to all underrepresented populations. The panelists were great. They spoke about how important it is for us runners to call ourselves runners and not to demur because we “only” ran a short distance or because we’re “just” mid- or back-of-the-packers. If we don’t own our identities as runners, how will the people watching us feel like it’s something they, too, can participate in? Oh, just listen to the podcast! At any rate, I’m going to do the same for powerlifting: I am a powerlifter.

Oh, Butter Irony

I started a post about powerlifting earlier today but I am too tired to finish it, oh butter irony*. Tuesdays are usually my most exhausting days of the week, and this one did not disappoint.

On a typical Tuesday, I’m up at 5:30 and out the door by 7:00, teaching classes from 8:00-2:00, in office hours/meetings after that, and then I hit the gym or track. By this time I’ve already walked about two miles on campus in dress shoes that make my feet angry so I’m feeling grimly determined to get the run done nevertheless. Today it was a track workout on tap. I somehow messed up the stats that display on my watch, the end result being that I ran my intervals significantly faster than needed, felt bad about myself because the workout seemed too hard, and almost barfed at the end. My stomach still feels pretty iffy, to be frank.

By the time I get the kids from daycare on Tuesdays, get home, do dinner/bath/bedtime, and so on, I generally start to feel like I’ve been run over by a truck. Then, the 30-60 minutes after bedtime when the kids insist on coming back out of their room for Very Important Kid Reasons, but during which I’m also trying to shut down the house by completing my final chores before bedtime, is the most difficult hour of the day. I’m crouching in the bathroom holding a geriatric/paraplegic dachshund over the toilet so I can express his bladder, for example, and suddenly there is a child climbing on my back and shouting in my ear about how they just needed to get back out of bed to see what Egon was doing. And as soon as I get all that taken care of and go to lie down for a minute I’m confronted with a pile of laundry I forgot about or with the ping of my daily phone reminder telling me to set up the coffee pot for tomorrow or or or.

(Because someone will wonder: yes, CW is involved in all this work, too. But this is my blog so it’s gonna be all about me, dammit.)

Current status: lying in bed, sweaty and stinky but wearing fresh lounge clothing, next to the aforementioned dog (curled up under my blanket), contemplating getting up to find my roller so I can work on my calves before I fall asleep. It’s 7:56 pm, y’all.

*autocorrect, obviously, but I’ll let it stand.

Halloween

I love Halloween and it’s almost even more fun with my kids than it was before they were around. We are lucky to live in a great neighborhood for trick-or-treating (good sidewalks and streetlights, lots of houses who participate, lots of families and groups roaming the streets). The past couple of years, we’ve walked around with a couple of families from our street who we’re friends with (they’ve got kids around the same age as ours) and it makes for such a fun group outing. We meet for a quick drink beforehand (and/or bring one for the road), the kids toddle up the lawns together to ring the bells, and the grown ups chat and laugh and admire the perfect crescent moon.

The week beforehand, my weather app was predicting a high temperature of 72 and rainy, which, frankly, is the absolute worst weather, so I was hoping it was wrong. It was right — but! the way that manifested was that the high temperature of 72 was at, like, 6:00 AM and it just got colder and colder from there. The rain stopped in the middle of the afternoon and we were left with about 48 and overcast for the evening. It was perfection.

The funniest thing was that on the NextDoor app, we had people posting to ask whether anyone was still going to be going out on account of the “bad weather.” Can you even?! Fortunately, questions like that were met with replies like, “I hope so, because we have a ton of candy over at [1234 Chocolate Ave.]!” In the end, it did seem like fewer groups were out this year, but we still had a ton of fun.

They had worn skeleton pajamas and masks to school, where they encourage the kids to dress up, but we saved their real costumes for the main event. (School gets messy, y’all.) E&L dressed as a “llamacorn” and a chameleon, respectively, because I picked the two cutest/funniest fleece costumes that Target had in their sizes. Luckily for me, they loved them and the chameleon proved to be a big hit with all the other trick-or-treaters who were dressed as lizards, dinosaurs, or dragons. One of the moms passing out candy was dressed as a dragon and even asked to take a picture with him.

And just because these are some of my all-time favorite photos of them, I’ll share a Halloween retrospective:

First Halloween, 2016. Almost 11 months old. Dressed as their favorite wubbanub pacifiers. Sheer perfection.
Second Halloween, 2017. Almost two years old. I made the shirts and the feather hats and my living room was covered in cheap electric blue feathers for far too long. Worth it.
Third Halloween, 2018. A pirate and a mermaid. The pirate costume came from Amazon but I made the mermaid dress and tail and I’m pretty darn proud.
Fourth Halloween, 2019. Almost four years old. Chameleon and Llamacorn. This is their album cover shot, obviously.