Things to Do - Snapshots of August & September 2016

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Every year I try to plan our vacations so that we "accidentally" miss the Arlington County Fair. Unfortunately, this year I totally blew it. Oh well, at least the kids were happy.

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Shadows are fun.

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I spent a day at Harpers Ferry with the kids and their friends. The kids liked learning about the town's history, but they LOVED the ice cream parlor more.

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Obligatory first day of school picture (2nd, 4th, and 5th grades). Everyone dressed up for the event. And then we all went back to our slovenly ways on day 2.

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The beginning of school brought about lots of reading and homework.

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And Minions.

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MD Renaissance Festival = happiness for everyone.

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Especially he who decides to be king.

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Bored children.

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Family movie night. Everyone kept yelling, "mom, please MOVE OUT OF THE WAY!"

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Soccer season began.

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And I photographed a flower.

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Dan and T decided to make over our backyard and I could not be happier about it.

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The boys made created warriors out of stuffed animals.

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T learned how to ride a bike and now he will never get off the thing.

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Yes, we still have two dogs.

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More fall flowers.

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I attended a Yan Fam Way workshop, where I met a lot of amazing people and learned cool stuff.

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Sometimes it rained, but it wasn't raining when I took this photo.

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I still love hanging at Longbranch Nature Center with this cool girl.

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Sometimes we see flowers there.

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And sometimes deer appear through the flowers. How cool is that?


Happy Wednesday everyone! Hope you're all having a good fall!!


Things to Do - Grateful List (September 2016)

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HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE!! I love hanging out with this super-fun, dog-loving, preschooler on weekday afternoons.

Have a great weekend and don't forget to check out this week's awesome on 5 Hours 'Til Bedtime!

* Watching The Big Short (Netflix streaming).
* Watching Shameless, Season 1 (Netflix streaming). How have I never heard of this show? It's awesome.
* Watching Dirty Rotten Scoundrels for family movie night.
* Watching Wiener, the movie (fascinating).
* Reading Waiting.
* Reading Cities I've Never Lived In (I loved this).

* The new ramen place (Boru) on Columbia Pike.
* Trader Joe's tumeric/ginger tea.
* Cava with Amanda.
* Dan making fantastic dinners on weeknights.

* A gorgeous afternoon at the Maryland Renaissance Festival.
* Taking the kids to see Raina Telgemeier at the National Book Festival.
* Attending the YanFam Way Photography workshop.

* Ben Sasso's new lightroom presets (SO. MUCH. WONDERFULNESS.).

* A much-needed last minute happy hour at Kelly's house before school started.
* Two more end of summer happy hours - Hector and Janise's BBQ and Jenny's "the pool is closing" party.
* F making me lunch for my first day of work (strawberry, cucumber, edamame salad).
* T and Cole after the storm, "we're collecting water." Me - "Why?". They both look at me like I'm crazy and say, "Because it's WATER!"
* The annual 6th street block party.
* T riding his bike everywhere and singing "you see me rolling!"
* My new job! (working at a preschool on Mondays and Tuesdays).
* After a long, hard course of chemo, my friend's husband just learned he is in remission (YAY!).
* Ending the month with a 2 am moms' wine night.


Things to Eat - Six Week Meal Plan (late August through September)

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We didn't cook anything very exciting this end of summer. But on the upside, F's decided to make dinner every once in awhile, WHICH IS AMAZING!! And, now that I work at a preschool on Monday and Tuesdays, Dan has taken over some of the weeknight cooking. So life is really getting easier. I love when our family works as a team!

You would think that sometime during the last six weeks I would have remembered to take a photo of our family dinnertime. But no. So you're left with the above photo from F's birthday party at Boru Ramen, which is crazy delicious.


MONDAY - Spring fatoosh salad (via It's All Easy) and pasta for the kids (after five weeks on the road, I'm craving fresh veggies like crazy).

TUESDAY - Moms' night out - dinner at Pallette and then Bad Moms!

WEDNESDAY - Dinner at Julia's house with the kids (THANK YOU!)

THURSDAY - Cauliflower tabouleh (via It's All Easy) and polenta with pasta sauce and chicken sausage.

FRIDAY - F makes dinner - Curly pasta (via The Forest Feast For Kids). We also had watermelon smoothies earlier in the day (yum).

SATURDAY - Leftovers and snacks at Twilight Polo.

SUNDAY - Chipotle.


MONDAY - Maggie's pasta (recipe here). This is always a sure thing.

TUESDAY - Smoky tomato-baked chicken with baby potatoes (via Clean Eating). I made half of this recipe with the tomato sauce and half without (for the kids), everyone seemed to prefer the plain version.

WEDNESDAY - Leftovers before Cirque De Soleil's Kurios with the girls (Dan and T opted for the Nationals' game).

THURSDAY - F makes dinner - kale and black bean tacos and butternut squash quesadillas (via The Forest Feast For Kids). So so good!

FRIDAY - Lamb chops and roasted potatoes for Dan's birthday.

SATURDAY - CAMPING!! I become ambitious and make hobo snacks with italian sausage, bell peppers, and mini-potatoes. They were fantastic.

SUNDAY - Chipotle.


MONDAY - The kids are at grandma and grandpa's house, so Dan makes a roasted chicken and potatoes for us (yum!!).

TUESDAY - The kids are at grandma and grandpa's house, so I make nachos. laziness.

WEDNESDAY - The kids are at grandma and grandpa's house, so date night at Bangkok 54.

THURSDAY - The kids are at grandma and grandpa's house, so dinner out with friends at Matchbox (so great to see Laurie and Alison!).

FRIDAY - Dinner at Kelly's happy hour.

SATURDAY - Dan make bbq chicken and hot dogs.

SUNDAY - Dinner at our neighbors' barbecue (so so good!)


MONDAY (Labor Day) - Pizza at the pool to celebrate the end of summer.

TUESDAY - I take F to soccer practice and Dan makes dinner - polenta with sausage and tomato sauce; tomato and lentil salad (recipe here) - YUM!!

WEDNESDAY - F makes dinner - kale and black bean tacos and butternut squash quesadillas (via The Forest Feast For Kids).

THURSDAY - Steaks on the grill with chimichuri sauce. Smash and toss roasted potato salad as a side (salad via 101 cookbooks). This salad was amazing and easy, we'll be making it again.

FRIDAY - Tomato, corn, and chickpea salad (via Cup of Jo); edamame and leftover steak for the kids. This salad was fantastic, I need to make it more often.

SATURDAY - Dinner at the block party.

SUNDAY - Dinner at Blackwell Hitch in Annapolis after the Renaissance Festival.


MONDAY - Dan makes dinner - grilled chicken, potatoes, and asparagus.

TUESDAY - Dan makes dinner - baked cod, rice, and asparagus.

WEDNESDAY - Spring fatoosh salad (via It's All Easy) and pasta for the kids.

THURSDAY - Maggie's pasta (recipe here).

FRIDAY - Crock pock chicken taco chili (via skinnytaste, blog). This was good, but not amazing. Not sure we'll have it agin.

SATURDAY - Burgers and hot dogs on the grill (to celebrate the end of summer).

SUNDAY - Leftovers.


MONDAY - Orecchiette with sweet sausage bolognese (via How to Celebrate Everything). Wow, crazy yummy. And the kids were so excited to have pasta they started jumping up and down.

TUESDAY - Dan makes dinner - fish and potatoes (so so good!).

WEDNESDAY - Middle eastern chickpeas with spinach (via Moosewood Restaurant Low Fat Favorites). This is one of my favorite recipes ever, but still not a hit with the rest of the family. Oh well, I keep trying.

THURSDAY - Quinoa salad with roasted vegetables and herbs (via How to Celebrate Everything). I thought this was really good, but the kids asked me not to make it again.

FRIDAY - Dan makes fish and potatoes. YUM!!!

SATURDAY - Boru Ramen on Columbia Pike for F's birthday party.

SUNDAY - Grilled swordfish with tomato coulis (via How to Celebrate Everything) and roasted brussels sprouts with bacon.


Things to Do - SockPanda's Crazy Fun Footwear

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As a blogger, I often receive offers for sponsorship to to try a new product, many of which are for things we'd never use or want. But every once in awhile something interesting arrives in my mailbox.

When SockPanda emailed me about their subscription service, I was intrigued but hesitant. I'm a boring gym socks sort of person (strictly white!), so I knew this would never work for me. But now that the girls are tweens, I'm finding it harder and harder to surprise them in a good way. Thus, I figured I'd take Sock Panda up on their free sock offer.

And, F LOVED THEM!! Like crazy loved. Like jump up and down loved. Like hug after hug loved.

Who would have thunk it?

So if one pair of socks could cause this much happiness, then a 6 month birthday subscription seemed like a no brainer (two pairs a month). So for the next few months I'll be posting about our newest sock arrivals (wow, that's a sentence I never thought I'd use). And if you'd like your own subscription, click here to learn more.

Further, SockPanda would like readers to know that for every subscription purchased, SockPanda donates socks to those in need. Part of me wondered if those in need really need socks, but then I remember that out of all the jackets, jeans, shirts, etc. that we give to goodwill, we never donate socks, instead we wear them until holes accrue.

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In case you were wondering if F REALLY loves unicorns, now you know.


Things to Do - 5 Hours 'Til Bedtime & Random Links

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HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE!! On Tuesday I took the kids to Blue Hill Farm in Waterford, VA to check out the light for a wedding I'm shooting there next week. F (of course) read her book, while P twirled through the fields. I can't even begin to explain how beautiful this place is, I really want to spend a night at their bed and breakfast, maybe sometime this spring?

Anyways, have a great weekend. And don't forget to check out this week's awesome on 5 Hours 'Til Bedtime!


* 5 Big Fall Books

* I'm thinking of buying this shirt for T, since he NEVER wants to change his clothes.

* I'm a little obsessed with this photo series. Crazy good stuff.

* Reader's guide to this fall's big book awards.

* How to raise kinder, less entitled kids (according to science).

* Laurie Melia Ceramics. Unexpected.

* I cannot wait to read this book!!

* I want this shirt in white. Like really really want.

* The easiest way to make popcorn. THIS IS AWESOME!!! (link via Cup of Jo).


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