Yesterday we took the boys to see Roanoke's Transportation Museum.  I tried my best to get good pictures of the boys, but they did not want to cooperate.  Neither one of them wanted to stay still!  I did manage to get a couple pics, though, and I even took a little video, but we'll have to see how well that turned out.

The boys (all three of them!) enjoyed the museum.  There were some pretty awesome model trains.  Taylor said he wanted one at home, and I think that's something we'll all do one day as a family.  I really enjoy the model trains, too!

Taylor and Stephen got to play around inside a big train that they had open to the public, and I think they enjoyed pushing and pulling on all of the levers and buttons.

We got to see some huge trains, and their little playground was fun too.

All in all, it was a nice trip.  I think the boys are still a little too young to really enjoy all the museum had to offer.  They weren't too inclined to stay in one place to let the grown ups read all of the plaques.  It was open enough and kid-friendly enough that we didn't need to hover over them, but we were still in a fair amount of motion through the whole trip, and their little attention spans are just not that long.

It was good times, though! 

Saturday: Shephard's Pie
Sunday: Baked mahi mahi, mac-n-cheese, roasted green beans
Monday: Chili
Tuesday: Spaghetti and meatballs
Wednesday: Baked chicken, cauliflower, tater tots
Thursday: Chili mac
Friday: Pizza
This was another wonderful meal that served for two dinners.  Last Sunday we made a delicious crock pot beef & mushroom dish, which we served with brown rice, and we repurposed the leftovers last evening for a delicious Shephard's pie.  The picture may not look overly beautiful, but the result was highly tasty.

Below are the two recipes for our two delicious (and pretty easy!) dinners.

Crock Pot Beef & Mushrooms

We served this with brown rice and roasted asparagus.  The rice and veg helped to really differentiate this from stew, which is often how any beef crock pot dish ends up tasting.  This definitely did not taste like stew.  It did, however, taste beefy and comforting and delish!
  • 1 1/2 lbs. stewing beef
  • 1 small pkg. white mushrooms (the recipe called for canned, but we like to use the fresh mushrooms)
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic (we use the store-bought paste you can get in the produce section)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1-2 stalks celery (the recipe didn't call for this, but we used it sense we had it on hand)
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 jar of beef gravy
  • 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper

  1. Brown meat, mushrooms, garlic, onions, celery in butter in skillet.
  2. Mix gravy with meat mixture.  Add the rest of the ingredients to the mix.  Pour into slow cooker.
  3. Cover, cook on low for 8-9 hours.
  4. Serve over cooked noodles or rice.

Leftover Shephard's Pie

This is an easy favorite of ours, the original of which is derived from Bob's mom's recipe.  We simplified it even more by using microwave mashed potatoes and, obviously, the leftover beef & mushroom crock pot recipe.  I thawed the frozen corn and peas and then microwaved the leftover beef & mushrooms (on 2 minutes at power level 8), so everything was pretty warm when we put it into the oven.  Because of that, it only need between 20-30 minutes.
  • Leftover crock pot beef & mushroom
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed (eyeball it)
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed (eyeball it)
  • 1 pkg. microwave mashed potatoes (I kind of wish we had used 2 packages)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Prepare mashed potatoes according to package directions.
  3. Mix meat mixture with thawed corn and peas.
  4. Top with mashed potatoes.
  5. Bake in oven for between 20-30 minutes.  Pie should be boiling/bubbling.  Let bubbles for at least 5-10 minutes, if not longer.  
  6. Also, be sure to let pie sit for awhile to cool a bit.
  7. Serve with biscuits, if desired.

It's not Monday, but it's still good to post the menu.

Saturday: Dinner at birthday party
Sunday: Crock pot beef & mushrooms with brown rice and roasted asparagus
Monday: Baked tilapia, shells & cheese, mixed veg
Tuesday: Tortellini and lemon sauce, with tomatoes and peas
Wednesday: Microwave Swedish meatballs
Thursday: Sauteed pork medallions, Betty Crocker Julienne potatoes, corn
Friday: Shephard's pie, with leftover crock pot beef & mushrooms (peas, corn, and mashed potatoes) (pics and recipe to come!)
I'm really happy with the outfit I put together today, so I thought I would take a pic and share!

You can't really see it here, but I am wearing cream-colored tights with the skirt and some fun leather boots.

I reviewed my Menu Monday menu and am pretty pleased and sort of pleasantly surprised to see that we actually followed the plan.  Granted, the menu was pretty simple, but it's still nice to see that I stuck to something.  I wanted a simple menu because Bob was out of town for a couple of days, and now that he is back he got the choice for tonight to (a) prepare dinner and clean up afterwards or (b) go out to dinner.  I suspect we will going out to eat tonight.

So now I am trying to decide if I should go for a run or not.  I ran yesterday and the day before.  It is just so darn cold outside!  And I know that I've actually run in colder weather than this, but for some reason it has been really tough for me this week.  Both of my runs have been so sluggish!

Okay, so I saved this draft yesterday, and then I screwed up all of my motivation and strength, and I went for the run.  I totally didn't want to do it, but I forced myself...

And I'm so glad I did!!  I ended up having a great run.  Definitely faster than the previous two, and I really just felt better the whole time.  I'm not trying to set any speed records, but when I'm going slow it's a sign that I'm also kind of miserable.  This run was anything but.  It was warmer and I just felt like my body was working like a machine.


So I think I ran about 9 miles this week.  My little encouraging voice on my iPhone app said I ran more this week than last.


Now it's Saturday morning and it's cold and rainy.  Yuck!

We need to plan something fun for today.  Right now we are planning to do laundry and grocery shop.  Not too exciting.  What else fun can we plan for today and/or the weekend in general?
Today's favorite fro yo flavor: dulche de leche and coffee swirl, with Reese's PB cup topping.


Planning for an easy week ahead!

Sunday: Stew and crusty garlic loaf
Monday: Crock pot BBQ Chicken, corn bread, baked beans, broccoli
Tuesday: Whole wheat ravioli
Wednesday: Sakura drive-thru
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Out or pizza
We got about a quarter inch of snow yesterday, so we all went out to play.

Yesterday was bitter cold, but we managed to have some fun in the snow, and Taylor got his hot chocolate.  We also braved the elements to get our traditional Sunday Fro Yo from the Frosty Parrot (Fro Pa).  It is a Sunday treat that I love, but I do wonder how we will be able to continue consuming frozen goodness as the temperature continues to go lower and stay lower through the winter.  Poor Taylor was an icicle about the whole way home. 

One downside to the whole weekend was that I was fighting a stomach bug.  Actually the whole family seemed to be dealing with something, but I think it hit me the hardest.  It's no fun being sick on the weekend!  At least we all seem to be doing a bit better today.

We did enjoy some tasty stew last night (at least, Bob and I enjoyed the stew) and we have plenty of leftovers for the rest of the week.

Here's to hoping for a calm week ahead!

Yesterday's run was so cold!  Bob said that there is no doubt that I am hardcore now, and I have to admit that I felt pretty badass with my hat and sunglasses and low ponytail (and many, many layers on).  I actually felt like my body was pretty comfortable.  The only part that was really frigid was my face, which was hurting by the end of the run.  The weather site said it was 27 degrees and felt like 18.

I would have loved to do a longer run, at least by .5 or 1 mile longer, but I ended it after the usual 3 miles, because I was so cold and also was feeling rather sluggish.  I guess it's because it was so cold that I felt a lot slower.

So Taylor was up at 5:20 this morning.  Ugh!  I should have known it was coming, since he had had a cycle of sleeping in.  He usually goes back and forth between sleeping well and waking early.  But it's still so painful to get up that early.  It's too bad.  I wish I could get up and get going with more energy.

On tap for today: make a weekly menu for next week, grocery shop...what else? We need to plan something fun!