The Weekly Ramble 3/23/24

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While I type I hear the sounds of busy activity: dishes clinking, my young people laughing and chatting, the dryer running, rain lightly falling outside. It’s a sweet spring Saturday with my people all at home.

rain on branches of watermelon guava tree.

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Two of the boys were out of town for 5 days, visiting my eldest son and daughter-in-law. The house was weirdly quiet.

It’s not that FishBoys 21 and 19 are all that loud, but they definitely animate the others. We see the same phenomenon when any of the other kids are away. The house is quieter.

I take it as a warning. The house will someday be a lot quieter, waiting for bursts of activity, the moments when everyone is home and igniting each other again.

I don’t take these days for granted. I am thankful for this season of “better together”.

Yesterday FishChick15 and I went to an event at Legoland for the opening of the new Dino Valley. We’ve been invited to a number of these “influencer events” over the years and did several of their Homeschool Days back when all the FishKids were along for the adventure.

Touring the park just the two of us, certainly sparked the memories.

girl and mom taking a selfie at legoland.

She remembered moments that I didn’t. And vice versa.

It was a really good day together. Again, a moment to savor, because the days that seemed so plentiful a few years ago are now on the countdown to a new season of life.

Since I decided to cancel my gym membership, I’m looking forward to getting my mornings back. I don’t like working out later in the day, so hauling myself to the gym first thing each morning really put a cramp in my morning routine.

I’ll finish up with the membership time I’ve got left and then refresh my morning high five to include a walk with my girl and yoga in place of the gym. While it’s not the weight training everyone says I need, it’s activity that I’ll actually enjoy.

(Re: those routine/morning high five posts, they clearly need updating. I haven’t had to do daily laundry in a very long time. The kids have been doing their own laundry forever it seems!)

Today they’ve been getting the house spic-and-span. Boy! Does anyone else love the sound of vacuuming?! It’s music to my ears!

game night graphic for march.

Tonight is Open Game Night. It’s a monthly activity we started back in October. All the kids invite their friends for games and food.

It’s never the exact same crowd which makes it really fun, and it’s really diverse with a mix of church/college/volunteer as well as ages from high school/college/beyond. All very family-friendly, but also very eclectic.

While it gets loud and sometimes late — remember my bedtime is 8:30! — it’s been a really good thing and a great chance to get to know the kids’ friends.

Tonight I’m making two huge pans of Garlic Whole Wheat Focaccia as well as two sheet pans of Pan Pizza.

After a few game nights when I made other kinds of foods and watched guests bring pizza, I figured it was easier to join them and just make pizza!

The Focaccia is actually my favorite, though. With some whole wheat flour and olive oil, it kinda/sorta fits my new heart-healthy ways. (In moderation, of course. 😉)

I’m still working on how much whole grain I can add without it tasting not-so-good.

I’ve played with different toppings, finishing it with olive oil, sliced red onion, halved grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, and herbs from the garden. I love how the onion caramelizes in the heavy olive oil topping. So good!

There are some red grapes in the fridge that aren’t quite crisp any longer – who likes squishy grapes?! – so, since I’ve heard of grape and rosemary focaccia, I’m going to try that this week. Sounds weird to me, but we’ll see!

focaccia with toppings in a sheet pan.

Just looking at it is making me hungry!

Lately, I’ve been doing a sort of Pantry Challenge, trying to shop the kitchen more often than not. I love saving the money, but honestly, I want to get all the bacon and whipped cream out of my house so I won’t be tempted!

(Please note: I’m not talking about diet culture here. I’m sensitive to that because of how it’s impacted people in my life. So please know that when I talk about foods I “should” or “shouldn’t” eat, I’m talking about them from a medical perspective. As in, someone at a high risk for a heart attack probably shouldn’t indulge.)

Meal planning is helping me be more intentional about this. This week we had

  • Sun: Italian turkey sausage and Irish bangers, olive oil mashed potatoes, sautéed mushrooms and onions with cabbage, whole wheat soda bread
  • Mon: white bean chicken chili, leftover whole wheat soda bread
  • Tues: turkey soft tacos
  • Wed: shrimp and italian turkey sausage, ravioli casserole, salad (I had a salad with shrimp)
  • Thurs: date night – Bryan and I went to The Kebab Shop (We split a wrap and I added a Greek salad while he had falafel.
  • Fri: pizza (I had just a few slices and a big plate of veggies and hummus)
  • Sat: the aforementioned pizza and focaccia (I will make a big salad for myself)

Generally speaking, I’m eating vegetarian at two meals a day. Usually for dinner I’m having seafood 3x/week and turkey or chicken the other nights.

I’m also working hard to get 800 grams of fruits and veg every day. Having two big salads a day helps that happen. These meal prep salads help me do that.

(You can read more about all of this here.)

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This has definitely become a RAMBLE. Thanks for hanging in there with me. Have a great week!

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