Monday, August 29, 2016

Let's Take a Hike + Fall Hike Bucket List

On Friday, James had the day off and we decided to make the most of it and head out for a family hike. Hiking isn't something we do often but after spending the afternoon walking a local natural trail, I decided that we need more hikes in our life. Connor's confidence and physical capabilities have grown so much this Summer and hiking is definitely something we will be doing more of. We used to be parents that would only do certain activities because we thought others were too big or difficult for Connor. Those days are long gone and I couldn't be happier.

We spent over 90 minutes hiking at Glen Helen in Yellow Springs. We love the town itself and often go there to shop, dine and grab some ice cream. But this time, we strictly wanted to check out the trails that Glen Helen offered. The weather was perfect and we had a blast looking for animals, checking out caves, finding waterfalls and so much more. We grabbed lunch afterward, rounding out the best family Friday in months.







I mentioned that I really want to plan more hikes on the weekend. Because Connor is "a big boy" -- his words, not mine because he will always be my baby! -- I went ahead and put together a bucket list of metroparks and trails we want to visit this Fall. I have to confess: I never knew that Dayton had so many trails and parks. It's been fun discovering our town in new, fun ways. While our Fall bucket list is sure to have a ton of seasonal activities, I wanted to put together a bucket list to get us up, moving and exploring more. 



Friday, August 26, 2016

Rewind Friday -- Goodbye Sweet Summertime

Summer is officially winding down for us. Connor starts school on Monday, meaning we have to kiss goodbye slow mornings, days at the pool and late night family fun. While I'm always eager to usher in Fall, Summer provided our family with a ton of fun and many memories this year. To keep with the "Rewind Friday" theme, I'm going to share our most read posts from this Summer and treat you to 5 of my favorite moments via photos from Summer 2016.




Most Read Blog Posts from May to August 2016




5 Memories from Summer 2016









Swim lesson success || Family walks || Baseball games || Bike rides || Date nights

Some of you may still be enjoying Fall but in my part of the country, it's wrapping up. While I won't miss the humid hot days, I will miss the memories that we made, the fun we had.


Last month's most visited post in our Rewind Friday link-up was from Amanda at Klein dot Co with her post "Five Tips for 5AM Pure Barre + Five Reasons to Go". Be sure to visit her space and read her tips. I think they work for anyone doing any of workout, regardless of time. I usually go early morning because that works with our schedule but I can promise you a yummy coffee would totally get me out of bed at 5AM! 



Now it's your turn. The link up is change for your to share your best content, your favorite post from this week or just your weekly Friday Favorites. Anything goes! You can link as many posts as you'd like; no limit! Be sure to use hashtag #RewindFridayParty when sharing on social media so we can give you some INSTANT LOVE.


Thursday, August 25, 2016

August's Must Make Meals -- Give Me Carbs!

My love of carbs runs deep. I know that there are so many people that follow a low-carb/no carb diet and while that works for you, it would only leave me hangry. Carbs are life. Carbs deserve to be respected. When preparing our meals, I try hard to keep the carb to protein to veggie ratio heavy on the protein and veggies but sometimes wants trumps needs and we have a carb heavy dinner. To balance that we usually take a family walk so we don't feel so blah after a evening of carb loading. I'm sure you are curious as to why I am rambling on about carbs, right? Well it's because in this month's must make menu post, I'm sharing 3 recipes that are heavy on carbs. I promise you they are all worth it! ENJOY!


If there is anything I pride myself on in the kitchen it's simple meals. I don't want to spend all afternoon prepping a dish or standing over the stove for hours. Each of these meals are simple to assemble and taste amazing.

CHICKEN PARMESAN


This dish is perfect for when you are wanting Italian but don't want to blow your day with a lot of calories. The chicken parmesan is a simple mix of chicken, spaghetti sauce, cheese and bread crumbs. In under 400 calories per serving, you have more than enough to feel full.

Ingredients and Baking Instructions
Place 10 ounces of cooked chicken in the bottom of a 8x8 aluminum baking pan (easy clean up -- you just toss it afterward!). Top chicken with 1.5 - 2 cups of spaghetti sauce. Add 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese and then tip with a 1/2 cup of Italian bread crumbs. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes and then uncover and back for an additional 25. You can add this a bed of spaghetti or eat without but CLEARLY I recommend the pasta.

MEATBALL SUBS


When we visited my parents a few weeks ago, we visited Amish country and I picked up a loaf of Italian Cheese bread. It's made from scratch with little to no preservatives so you have to use it quickly before it goes bad. Connor loves meatballs so this is a win-win. Meatballs with sauce, Italian bread and cheese ... you can't go wrong. Our side dish was asparagus. This may have been the best part of this meal.

Baked Asparagus Instructions
Line a cookie sheet with asparagus and lightly coat with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Remove, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake for another 10 minutes. You can do this with asparagus, potatoes, carrots and broccoli. Baking times will differ but the results is the same: delicious veggies everyone loves.

OVEN BAKED SLIDERS


When Sarah shared this recipe, I know it would be on our menu the following week. The idea of baking a burger never crossed my mind but oh my gosh! It's so simple and tasty. We paired our sliders with bake beans and a parmesan roasted broccoli. This just may have been my favorite dinner all month.

Over Baked Burgers Instructions
You can visit Sarah for all the details on the recipe. It's so easy and I would never have thought to try it had it not been for her recipe.

MISSISSIPPI BEEF


This is one dish James asks for often. And I'm more than happy to make it for him since it cooks in the slower cooker all day. It doesn't get much easier than that! We paired the beef with Trader Joe's riced cauliflower and (more) parmesan asparagus. When I say we love asparagus around here, I'm not kidding. We have about 3 times a week.

Slow Cooker Mississippi Beef Instructions
Place chuck roast, 1 pack of Italian seasoning, half a bottle of pepperoncini peppers and 8 ounces of beef broth in cooker. Turn on high and let cook for 8 hours. Serve with rice and veggies.

It wasn't until I was working on this post that I realized not only do we love carbs but we are equally in love with all things Italian. 3 of the 4 dishes showcased were Italian themed. Maybe next month, I'll aim for a different ethnic cuisine. Be sure to visit Whitney at Polka-Dotty Place, Kate from Cup of Tea and Whitney at Come Home for Comfort to see what new meals they discovered this month.