Monday, May 22, 2017


Welcome back to another Meal Planning Monday! I've been sitting here with my laptop, my phone (for entering my meals in My Fitness Pal), and a couple of my favorite cookbooks planning a new week of meals. 

Peter's BIRTHDAY is this week! So yes, there will be an evening of sweets, but otherwise I've planned some healthy meals to get me closer to the end of May. If you don't know, Peter and I are in this little "lose 10 pounds in May" challenge and so far it's going great! *fist bump*

Here's a few healthy meal ideas for you this week!

Grilled Chicken BLT Salad

Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos

Sausage & Vegetables Sheet Dinner

Cuban Style Grilled Pork Chops

To keep us on track, lunches will vary between grilled turkey burgers, grilled sweet Italian turkey sausages, or my high protein chicken salad rounded out with fresh veggies and Greek yogurt.

And TOMORROW (Peter's birthday) it'll be all about delicious grilled STEAK! Mmmmm!

And while you're cooking dinner, check out our most recent FAMILY VLOG HERE!

Have a great week!

Friday, May 12, 2017


Last week we celebrated 6 years with our amazing Zachary. The past 6 years have been filled with countless doctor visits, book draws, different tests, therapy appointments, and lots of emotions. The years have also overflowed though with countless laughs, smiles, moments of gratitude, and awe. Zachary is a fighter and has reached milestones many didn't think he'd ever meet. God has been so good to our family and our precious boy. 

May 4 always comes with strange emotions for us. Zachary doesn't want a cake with candles, could care less about opening presents, and has no understanding for what all of the excitement is about.

What May 4 is, though, is a day to celebrate the blessing of having Zachary in our lives. We celebrate how far he's come and how far God has brought his tiny body in these short 6 years. You guys, he's gained so much weight compared to a year ago and is WALKING! A-ma-zing!

So how did we celebrate Zachary this year?

1. Chick-fil-a!

Zachary doesn't eat much at home other than soup and cottage cheese. (Thus we're so thankful for his G-tube!) He doesn't even like to sit at the table with us when we eat, so how could we even have a family birthday dinner? Why Chick-fil-a of course. His favorite!

We met Peter's family and some very dear friends from church at the restaurant. We had balloons, Zachary got his fill of chicken, and survived the excitement and noise for a little bit...before Peter had to take him to the car and escape back to the quiet. Zachary can only handle noise and activity for short amounts of time. He's definitely a homebody who prefers just his little family of 6.

2. Siblings

Here's the core of why I'm writing this post. Peter and I decided to do something a little different and unique this year and celebrate our big kids on Zachary's birthday. Being a sibling to a special needs child is not the easiest. Our 3 older kids are extremely patient, loving, helpful, and have put up with so much these 6 years so far. Our middle two kids have sat in plenty of waiting rooms and through long appointments. They've had to wait patiently to get a word in while I spent excessive amounts of time on the phone with doctors and nurses.

While his oldest brother is focusing on his final years of high school, Zachary can melt even the biggest kid of the family. The love 17 year old Travis has for Zachary is beautiful to see.

Our kids have put up with numerous moments where we had to give the majority of our focus to caring for Zachary. I hate to admit it, but sometimes they just have to get ignored. Yet they never ever complain. When Zachary does something new and exciting? They're just as proud and excited as we are. 

On Zachary's birthday, we decided to turn the tables a bit and celebrate our big kids. We took the day as an opportunity to thank each of them and celebrate what amazing "Special Needs Siblings" they are to Zachary.

Each kid received a card from Peter and I with a special message just for them and a small non-birthday present from us. Since there isn't necessarily a Special Needs Sibling Day, we created our own! And I've heard from each of them how much our gesture meant to them.

This coming year doesn't look to be filled with all sunshine and roses with a major surgery later this year for Zachary. But he has the best big brothers and sister anyone could ask for to love and support him and us through it all!

Travis, Kaylee, and Daniel - you're the BEST! You are the heroes in Zachary's life who don't get near the credit you deserve. 

Zachary is better because he has each of you!

Thursday, May 11, 2017


This recipe is a keeper, folks. This is another recipe that has definitely earned a spot in our bi-weekly rotation. Not only did Peter ooh and ahh the entire time he ate, all of our kids loved it too. A healthy meal the kids also love? Winning!

Lemon & Garlic Salmon


Asparagus (or really any fresh veggie would work)
1/2 Roughly Chopped Red Onion
1 Lemon
2-3 Garlic Cloves or 2-3 T. minced garlic


Spray a sheet pan and place the salmon in the center. 

Rub the garlic ALL over the salmon. I spread it on pretty thick!

Drizzle a little lemon juice on the fish.

Sprinkle parsley, salt, and pepper on top and arrange lemon slices last.

Arrange your vegetable of choice around the salmon and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. 

Broil on low for around 20 minutes until done, depending on the thickness of your salmon.

Once I took it out of the oven I drizzled a little more lemon juice on top and served with a side of brown rice. Easy peasy and healthy!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


This has been one of my more requested recipes to post. During the spring and summer months, we make this recipe about every other week. It's definitely a keeper! We love to grill and definitely grill the chicken, but you could easily marinate the chicken and bake it in the oven. After baking you would top the chicken with the Bruschetta before serving. I won't keep you waiting any longer - here's the Newland family's favorite grilled chicken recipe!

Chicken & Marinade:

1 T. Chopped Oregano
1 T. Chopped Basil
1/2 tsp. Chopped Thyme
1 tsp. Chopped Parsley
2 T. Lemon Juice
2 T. Balsamic Vinegar
1 T. Olive Oil
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
1/4 tsp. Salt
4 Chicken Breasts

Combine all of the marinade ingredients into a ziplock bag. Add chicken, mix, and refrigerate for at least an hour. 

*I frequently assemble the marinade and chicken while I'm making lunch and let it marinade in the refrigerator all afternoon until it's time to grill.


6 Roma Tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/4 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp. Salt
1-2 Cloves Minced Garlic
1 T. Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
1 T. Olive Oil

Combine all of the ingredients and refrigerate. 

**When ready, grill or bake chicken and top with bruschetta before eating. So easy and so delicious!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


Are you ready for the easiest dinner ever? If you can hold a knife and chop a few veggies and sausages you can make this dinner. I'd call this dinner extremely fool proof!

Hate doing dishes? This meal is for you! All I had to wash was a knife, a cutting board, and the pan I cooked on. I'm so excited I discovered "sheet dinners." We may be experimenting with sheet dinners weekly. It's so easy!

Sausage & Vegetables Sheet Dinner


Sausage - We used Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage and some Turkey Sausage but you could use whatever you so choose.

Vegetables - Tonight we did sliced zucchini, asparagus, and red onion.

Spices - Experiment! We went with a little salt and pepper and then a rosemary herb seasoning. 

Olive Oil - Spray the pan and we also sprayed the veggies with a little olive oil before putting on the spices.

You can't go wrong here. Cut up your sausage and vegetables, spray with a little olive oil, season, and bake!

350 Degrees for about 20 minutes. 

That's it! Isn't it pretty?

Monday, May 8, 2017


I'm back for a mother Meal Planning Monday! Peter and I really locked in our nutrition and calories last week and are feeling so good. I have several recipes I'll be sharing here this week including our much requested Bruschetta Chicken recipe which will be here on my blog on Wednesday morning, so come back!

Here are 5 healthy dinner ideas for your week:

Strawberry Chicken Salad

Sausage & Roasted Vegetables Sheet Dinner

Recipe Coming Tuesday!

Bruschetta Chicken 

Recipe Coming Wednesday!

Lemon Garlic Salmon

Recipe Coming Thursday!

Lemon Pepper Chicken

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


We're on a slime kick around here. With just few simple ingredients you may already have on hand, you can have your kids entertained for hours with super fun slime! Here are 2 of our favorite recipes.


2 Bottles of white school glue
1 tsp. Borax
Food Coloring

1. Pour both bottles of glue into a large bowl.
2. Fill each empty bottle with warm water, shake up, and put in with the glue. Mix together.
3. Add drops of food coloring until you like the color!
4. Mix 1/2 cup warm water with 1 tsp Borax and stir. The mixture will thicken up quickly! 
5. Get your hands in there and mix and knead until you have a gooey and smooth blob! Have fun!


2 Bottles of white school glue
1 T. Baking Soda
2 T. Contact Lens Solution
Food Coloring

1. Pour both bottles of glue into a large bowl.
2. Add the baking soda and mix.
3. After mixing, drops of food coloring until you like the color!
4. Add the contact lens solution
5. Mix together until slime begins to form. Get your hands in there and knead! Have fun!

Both of these recipes are super quick and easy. I will say Slime #1 makes about 2x as much as the other recipe. Do you have a favorite slime recipe? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

Did you know you can follow our family on our Newland Chronicles channel on YouTube?