Things to Do - Grateful List (November 2014)

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ARTS (um, I guess I watched a lot of TV in November)
* Watching the Artist is Present
* Watching Diane Vreeland's documentary
* Watching Sons of Peridition
* Watching How to Marry a Millionaire
* Watching Ai Weiwei
* Watching Gone Girl for date night
* Watching Big Hero 6 in 3D at the Courthouse theaters (love that theater, loved the movie)
* Reading Murakami's short story “Scheherazade" in the October 14, 2014 New Yorker

* Taqueria Poblano for P's 8th birthday
* Buffet brunch at Red Rocks (so so good, plus kids eat free)
* Our Kelly Bronze Thanksgiving turkey

* F's birthday shopping spree at Barnes and Noble (she was so happy)
* Fog science at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage (part of the Kids' Euro Festival)
* Dumbarton Oaks on a 70 degree day
* P at Claire's, "Mom, is this the first time we've ever been to a mall?" (crazy, but the answer is yes)
* The Artisphere with the kids (so sad that it's closing)
* Christmas tree shopping at Ticonderoga Farms and decorating our tree (the kids kept spontaneously hugging)
* A snowy day at the Hirshhorn with the kids and my mom

* P scoring her first goal of the season during their last game (they won)
* Game night at Shannon's
* Lazy family nights with no organized activities (soccer is over!!)
* My busyest fall photo season ever (including an amazing pillow fight family shoot)
* Three nights in a row of happy hours (Mazagan with friends, happy hour with neighbors, and wine night with local moms)
* Fitbit challenges and averaging over 20,000 steps a day
* "Why should I make a list if this supposed 'Santa Clause' [air quotes] really exist, he can somehow see everything, right? So he'd be watching this conversation and already know what I want." - P
* T calling everyone "dorkenstein"
* "I really want a boofcase for Christmas, because it's where you put papers and stuff and I have a lot of really important papers." - T
* Settlers of Catan with Rachel and Scott
* 7 kid sleepover and no fights
* Girls on the Run with F
* "Grandma, can you please entertain us?" - T
* "P and F are still not letting me play with them. They're only letting me be god and there's no god in their game." - T
* "Mom, we are a happy family, we're just not a happy family all the time. But we love each other, even when we fight." - P


F - my friends, finishing my final project, blogging [for school], our family, a nice house to live in and food to eat

P - gymnastics, my friends, my awesome secret handshake with P, school, my family

T - my family, a nice house to live in and food to eat, that we're safe and sound, Natalia, that it's almost Thanksgiving, my new iphone [my super old iphone, which he's already lost].


Places to Go - Lighthouses and Trains at the US Botanic Gardens (Washington D.C.)


Merry Christmas Eve everyone! Just a quick reminder that the US Botanical Gardens has their annual train display up (we went a few weeks ago, back when I could still walk). This year's theme is lighthouses and they've (as always) made a really beautiful exhibit. The gardens are open from 10-5 every day (including Christmas), click here to learn more.



Things to Do - Cherish This Day & Random Links

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All three kids together and smiling, I love these moments. HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE!! Don't forget to click over to Cherish This Day to see the rest of the group's photos.


* 51 of the most beautiful sentences in literature.

* Lately, I'm in love with this cookbook, full of healthy, simple recipes.

* When celebrity photography was cool.

* The 25 Best TV characters of 2014. Lincoln and Maura are awesome.

* Tumblr's 2014 Year in Review. Lots. Of. Info. My favorite is Kale.


Things to Read - Seven Interesting Articles From Around the Web (on mom friends, Chris Rock, the most powerful woman in the free world, the central sadness, busyness, college admissions, and Elf on the Shelf)

1. (Mom Friends) - Meaghan O'Connell's article about needing to make mom friends after having a baby reminded me of how hard those early years can be (it really does get easier - kids, babies, mom friends, the whole thing).

" 'Well, are any of them cool?' my friend asked me.

Actually, I said, yes. Most of these women are cool individually. One woman at story time had these great sparkly shoes. Another is a midwife. One woman started her own company and is really funny. Another writes for the Times. Collectively, though, they are mothers. They park their goddamn strollers everywhere and they are alternately dressed like shit or way overdressed for someone who has nowhere to be at all. They’re either miserable or fake happy or smug. They’re lost, too, scrambling for affirmation that they’re doing things the right way, that their kid is going to be okay. Okay or a genius. They’re knee-jerk judgmental, compensating for their own lack of conviction, a little defensive, hiding their deep fear just below the surface. They’re tired. Their clothes don’t fit. They miss work, miss people, miss drinking. They have no idea what they’re doing and have spent way too much time reading about it on the internet. They are, I’m sorry to say, just like me."

2. (Chris Rock) - I feel like social media is abuzz with talk of Chris Rock's New York magazine interview, but have you read it yet? The whole thing is quite brilliant. As in every quote.

"I don’t think I’ve had any meetings with black film execs. Maybe one. It is what it is. As I told Bill Murray, Lost in Translation is a black movie: That’s what it feels like to be black and rich. Not in the sense that people are being mean to you. Bill Murray’s in Tokyo, and it’s just weird. He seems kind of isolated. He’s always around Japanese people. Look at me right now."

3. (The Most Powerful Woman In the Free World) - And speaking of influential people, the New Yorker has a fascinating profile of Angela Merkel, "the most powerful woman in the free world."

"She once joked to the tabloid Bild Zeitung, with double-edged self-deprecation, “The men in the laboratory always had their hands on all the buttons at the same time. I couldn’t keep up with this, because I was thinking. And then things suddenly went ‘poof,’ and the equipment was destroyed.” Throughout her career, Merkel has made a virtue of biding her time and keeping her mouth shut.

. . . .

Merkel, at sixty, is the most successful politician in modern German history. Her popularity floats around seventy-five per cent—unheard of in an era of resentment toward elected leaders. Plainness remains her political signature, with inflections of Protestant virtue and Prussian uprightness. Once, with a group of journalists at a hotel bar in the Middle East, she said, “Can you believe it? Here I am, the Chancellor! What am I doing here? When I was growing up in the G.D.R., we imagined capitalists with long black cloaks and top hats and cigars and big feet, like cartoons. And now here I am, and they have to listen to me!” Of course, there’s something calculated about her public image. “She’s so careful not to show any pretensions—which is a kind of pretension,” the senior official said."

4. (The Central Sadness) - New Yorker also published a wonderful essay on "the childless, the parentless, and the Central Sadness."

"I thought I’d undertaken volunteer work with kids because I was, above all, a realist. I thought it showed the depth of my understanding of my own psyche. I thought it was a way of turning my limitations, specifically my reluctance to have children, into new and useful possibilities. I thought the thing I felt most guilty about could be turned into a force for good. But now I know that I was under the sway of my own complicated form of baby craziness. Wary as I’ve always been of our culture’s reflexive idealization—even obsessive sanctification—of the bond between parent and child, it seems that I fell for another kind of myth. I fell for the myth of the village. I fell for the idea that nurture from a loving adoptive community could erase or at least heal the abuses of horrible natural parents.

I’d also tricked myself into believing that trying to help these kids would put the Central Sadness on permanent hiatus, that my husband and I could find peace (not just peace but real fulfillment) in our life together. Instead, we continued to puzzle over the same unanswerable questions. Were we sad because we lacked some essential element of lifetime partnership, such as a child or an agreement about wanting or not wanting one, or because life is just sad sometimes—maybe even a lot of the time? Or perhaps it wasn’t even sadness we were feeling but, simply, the dull ache of aging. Maybe children don’t save their parents from this ache as much as distract from it. And maybe creating a diversion from aging is in fact much of the point of parenting."

5. (Busyness) - Another great article on the "disease of being busy."

"Whatever happened to a world in which kids get muddy, get dirty, get messy, and heavens, get bored? Do we have to love our children so much that we overschedule them, making them stressed and busy — just like us?

What happened to a world in which we can sit with the people we love so much and have slow conversations about the state of our heart and soul, conversations that slowly unfold, conversations with pregnant pauses and silences that we are in no rush to fill?

How did we create a world in which we have more and more and more to do with less time for leisure, less time for reflection, less time for community, less time to just . . . be?"

6. (College Admissions) - Another article on "letting Harvard go."

"Q - How do I motivate my child to get straight A's? (I wish, actually, the question was: how do I set reasonable academic expectations for my child?)

A - you don't. Encourage your child to do his or her best work. Check in often to feel out how much and how well they're learning. Offer support if your child is struggling. And when your child gets a B, C, or D -- or even if he fails -- don't overreact. Review mistakes. Ask the child to fix them, even if it's not for credit. Ask how he feels about his performance and what he might do differently next time. Never express disappointment, but it's okay to encourage improvement. There's a line, and you know it. Expecting A's is pressure. Expecting learning is awesome."

7. (Elf on the Shelf) - And finally, this article on why "Elf on the Shelf is preparing your child to live in a future police state" sounded absurd, until I read it. And now all I can say is "ummm??? (Full disclosure, we are an "Elf family", my children know no other way).

“I don’t think the elf is a conspiracy and I realize we’re talking about a toy,” Pinto told The Post. “It sounds humorous, but we argue that if a kid is okay with this bureaucratic elf spying on them in their home, it normalizes the idea of surveillance and in the future restrictions on our privacy might be more easily accepted.”


Things to Do - 12 in 12 (December 2014)

Now that I can't walk or drive (annoying broken foot), my days have slowed down considerably. I have a lot of work I should be doing - finishing up final edits from end of November photoshoots, reworking my website to showcase newer photos, newsletters, business cards, taxes, branding. But I don't have a laptop and I'm supposed to keep my foot elevated as much as possible. So I took the week off . . .

Don't forget to check out Not-So-SAHM and Where the Watermelons Grow to see how their Fridays went.

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7:45 am - Our elf isn't as creative as some of the other elfs out there, but at least he moves around a lot.

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8:15 am - The kids unwrap fake mustaches for day 12 of the countdown to Christmas. These prove to be a HUGE success.

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8:45 am - My friend picks the kids up to walk them to school, since I can't really move that well.


9:15 am - I elevate my foot and finish the last episode of Puberty Blues, Season 2 on Hulu (probably the best show ever on TV, you can read my review of Season 1 here).

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11:45 am - My friend, Ann, picks me up for lunch at Busboys and Poets.


1:30 pm - Back on the couch. This time I alternate between reading The Paying Guestsand watching Broad City on Amazon Prime (that show is HYSTERICAL!!)

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2:30 pm - Take a selfie of myself on the couch, just to take a picture of something.

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3:45 pm - F makes root beer floats for everyone after school.

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4:30 pm - Kelly picks us up to drive to playgroup. Unlike us, she has TVs in her car, which enchant my children. (I know you can't see the whole ensemble that well in this photo, but there is NOTHING in the world cuter than a toddler in a shark jacket/costume).


6:30 pm - Friday night playgroup at Julia's. Wonderful salad, wonderful friends.

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8:00 pm - Drive by some crazy Xmas lights on the way home. Apparently the house has its own AM station, but we just stay long enough to get the general idea.

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9:00 pm - P trying to delay bedtime for just a few minutes more.


Things to Do - Gravity Maze GIVEAWAY!! [Now Closed}

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I have a friend who loves making marble runs with her kids - they own runs in every size and color imaginable. But me? Well up til now I've always been more neutral on the marble run experience. Yes, it can be fun to build a little roller coaster of sorts, but after awhile the whole process seems a little redundant. Until now.

Over the past year or so, Thinkfun has asked us to try out a variety of their new toys and games and we've always been rather impressed with their offerings. But Gravity Maze is the best yet. The puzzle/game comes with 60 challenges, ranging from beginning to expert. And it is up to you to arrange various translucent "towers" in such a way that the ball rolls from A to Z.

Gravity Maze is designed for children 8 and up. P (my 8 year old) loves solving the challenges both with me (as a team) and on her own. Whereas, T (my 5 year old) prefers to let me do most of the problem solving, while he drops the ball to see if we're working in the right direction.

All in all, this is a great pre-dinner activity, especially during the LONG LONG nights of December. Think Fun has offered to giveaway one gravity maze to a No Monsters reader (US addresses only). To enter, just comment on this post. Please include your email address in the body of the message (so I can find you). This giveaway will close this Thursday night (December 18th).



Places to Go (Vacation) - Bourbon Street & A Broken Foot (New Olreans, LA)

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These are my best friends. I don't see them as often as I'd like. But when I do see them, we have fun.

I really don't think there's any better place for a girls' weekend than New Orleans, LA. Especially when you're edging 40. Because you can: drink outside in December, dance to a live band singing "Don't Stop Believing", and (miraculously) find yourselves some of the youngest women in the room. Vegas just can't give you that last part.

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Everything became fuzzy after the hurricanes (granted there were several margaritas before the hurricanes even began).

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Apparently we drank more.

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And more.

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And danced.

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Night two was much more mellow due to an ill-placed pothole colliding with my right foot (I actually fell in said pothole while checking my fitbit steps, oh the irony).

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After walking proved difficult, we ended up at the hotel bar, with its overpriced drinks and eclectic clientele.

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Wine numbs the pain.

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And if a stranger tells Allison she has big hair, as in "really big, like Texas, hair" . . .

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Then she will find a way to make it bigger.

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And bigger.

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So Saturday was sort of a bust. But after 4 hours in the New Orleans emergency room (not a place I'd recommend), they told me my foot was definitely broken, gave me a coolio boot, and sent me on my way.

Still a great weekend. And that says a lot.


Things to Do - 7 Ways to Ward Off the Gimmies This Holiday Season

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Every year my friend Tara puts together this amazing event called the Gifts That Give Hope gift fair, where kids can "shop for unique and meaningful teacher and grandparent gifts personalized by your child, learn more about 15 locally based nonprofit organizations, enjoy festive holiday music and refreshments, visit with Santa, enjoy facepainting and kid's activities, all while teaching children the true meaning of giving by shopping at our Children's Gift Fair."

Usually, we're out of town for the fair, but this year we can't wait to participate. If you're interested, Gifts That Give Hope will take place this Saturday from 10 am til 2pm at Calvary United Methodist Church (2315 S Grant St. Arlington VA 22202).

In the meantime, check out Tara and Katherine's wonderful article about how to avoid the holiday gimmies.

7 Ways to Ward off The Gimmies This Holiday Season

For many of parents, the kids’ first glimpse of the glistening holiday display at the mall ushers in a side of the holiday season that triggers a pounding headache: The kids come down with a case of The Gimmies.

It’s hard to blame them. The television, the radio and—good grief—even the mailbox are full of ads for items add to their ever-expanding wish lists. “I want a bike,” “I need a Transformer,” or “I’m going to ask Santa for an American Girl doll.” Often, the appeals come from kids who would never nag for a toy, outside of this increasingly amped-up season draped in snowy wonder.

In the age of thoughtful parenting, many of us wrestle with how to deal with it all — not just the gifts, but how to merge family traditions without making the whole month of December into a celebration of decadence and spoiling. What none of us want is a collection of rotten kids to live with for 11 months of the year, when the guests have gone, the Elf on a Shelf has moved back north and the family routines return to normal.

Here are seven ways to ward off The Gimmies, many of them borrowed from friends and loved ones who, like us, are wishing for oodles of holiday joy, but hoping we can get through it without create little monsters.

1. Make the holiday season about more than presents; make it about experiences. These don’t need to be elaborate, Facebook-ready photo-ops. Instead, put away your to-do list. Slow down. Take a holiday light drive. Bake cookies with the kids, and then sit down to enjoy one yourself. Be sure—throughout the month—to talk about gratitude for all that you have and all that you can do.

2. Get rid of the catalogs. They fill your mailbox, pile up on your counters and are menus for The Gimmies. Instead, steer kids—and gift givers—to activities like skating lessons, outings and other memory-makers.

3. If you have indulgent family members, ask them to limit gifts. This can get tough. However, at the end of the season, mom and dad have to be the Curator of the New Toy Collection. Muster all your diplomacy and ask for their support. Hopefully, they’ll understand that you’re doing your best to raise good-natured and appreciative children.

4. If you wind up overwhelmed by generosity, tuck some gifts away, if you can do it without hurting anyone’s feelings. Save them for the summer—or even a big spring snowstorm—when they won’t get so lost in the holiday deluge.

5. Let the giving be the receiving. Have the kids help pick out presents and talk to them about giving thoughtfully. When it makes sense, help them make
some gifts, even simple ones. (Read: Don’t look at Pinterest first. Construction paper snowflakes and glitter are still adorable.)

6. Talk about the meaning of the holidays. If you are Jewish, teach your children about the miraculous menorah that burned for eight days. Explain the significance of eating delicious food cooked in oil, like latkes, and invite friends over for dinner. If you are Christian, make Advent and the coming of Jesus a significant part of the December narrative. Get to a Christmas pageant or see a live Nativity. Think of ways to get through to the little ones: Why not bake a birthday cake for Baby Jesus? Whatever your beliefs, use them to start a conversation with your kids about the traditions of your holiday.

7. Be generous yourself. Talk with your children about adopting a family or contributing to Toys for Tots. Remind your kids that not everyone has a lot. We adore the charity Gifts that Give Hope, which hosts alternative gift fairs online and in the United States and Canada. There, shoppers can purchase acts of kindness for loved ones, rather than another sweater. These conversation pieces at the holidays can remind everyone—young and old—about the value of supporting charities that help the homeless, sick children and others who need a hand.

- Tara Bibb and Katherine Shrader are Arlington, Va., moms, and board members at Gifts that Give Hope. They are doing their best to discourage The Gimmies, but know there will be plenty of moments that test them between now and New Year’s.


Things to Do - This Untamed Life, Bedtime (Oh, the Sleepover)

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As an only child, when we decided to have three children ("decided" being somewhat of an iffy word choice, but I'll go with it) I assumed they would play with each other. Isn't that the point? But life is always throwing me surprises.

During a period of random happiness, I told F that her best friend could sleepover. I didn't even think about it. They're good kids. They're in 3rd grade. Sleepovers are pretty easy by this point. BUT within seconds my other two children started whining and complaining about my unfairness (oh the curse of unfairness, which always seems to cling to me).

And I believe in equality (or, at least I used to).

So this is how, on a seemingly innocuous Friday night, I ended up with 7 children (YES SEVEN!!) sleeping over at my house. Three boys. Four girls. All in the basement. Ages ranging from 5 to 9.

Things started out swimmingly. We stayed at a friend's happy hour until 8:30 pm. We walked home. We changed into PJs. I rented Maleficent. Everyone snuggled into their own sleeping bag, so cute and innocent-seeming. P's best friend fell into a deep slumber. Life was good.

Then, around 11 pm, all except one found a second wind. I didn't know what to do (Dan was busy hosting a rather large poker game in our outdoor party room), so I photographed the chaos - mainly kindergarten/1st grade boys vs. 2nd/3rd grade girls. The boys used toy swords and life sabers. The girls countered with Dan's old crutches.

Finally by 12:45, I had them back in sleeping bags. I fell asleep upstairs at 1 am, so the rest of the night remains a mystery to me (did they sleep at all? reports vary).

HAPPY MONDAY EVERYONE!! Just wondering, how does the rest of the world handle sleepovers when you have multiple children? Do they all take turns hosting or do you end up with nights like mine? Any advice would be appreciated. Now don't forget to click over to This Untamed Life to see everyone else's bedtime images.

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Things to Do - Cherish This Day & Random Links

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Happy Friday everyone! The photo above is from our trip to Ticonderoga Farms (a seriously fun place). Don't forget to check out everyone's photos on Cherish This Day.

Happy Weekend!


* Slate's best books of 2014 (staff recommendations, so it's a little more varied than most critics' lists). Of course, there is the New York Times' 100 List as well. And NPR just released their 2014 book concierge. I. am. overwhelmed.

* Kelly Hatcher's spoon dolls are pretty much the cutest thing ever.

* This pop up book looks awesome.

* 10 questions to ask your family around the table. I need to remember these for when we have dinner with the grandparents.


Things to Watch - Five (Wonderful) "Art" Documentaries on Netflix Streaming

Lately, I'm a little obsessed with documentaries on Netflix streaming, especially ones that deal with artists and the art world. Here are my top 5 so far, even if you're not exactly into modern art (and/or you find it ridiculous) these films are all entertaining in their own right. Or at least I think so.

1. Bill Cunningham New York
- This documentary profiles the 80-some year old photographer who spent years writing the "On the Street" and "Evening Hours" fashion columns for the New York Times. If this sounds boring (which it kind of does), then you haven't yet fallen in love with Bill yet, who is the most charming, modest, unpretentious, fascinating person.

Cunningham's best quote: "[t]he main thing I love about street photography is that you find the answers you don't see at the fashion shows. You find information for readers so they can visualize themselves.

2. The Artist Is Present
- This film follows Marina Abramovi, a world famous performance artist, as she prepares for her retrospective at MOMA, where she sits every day for two and a half months, from open to close of the museum, staring at visitors who stand in huge lines (many of whom camp out overnight) to stare back at her. Actually, even without the MOMA show, this documentary shows that Abramovi is interesting not just as an artist, but as a person (especially as it documents the relationship and split with Abramovi's long-term partner and significant other, Uwe Laysiepen). Watching Abramovi, really makes one think about what it means to be an "artist" and what, in order to claim such a title, one must give up along the way.

Abramovi's best quote: "The hardest thing to do is something that is close to nothing."

3. Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel - Apparently Diana Vreeland was the original Anna Wintour - determined, successful, important, and (somewhat) viscous. The story of her life is fascinating (even the parts that she obviously fabricated). Plus, this movie takes the viewer on a worldwind trip through the the twentieth century - from the Belle Époque through Studio 54, Vreeeland witnessed it all.

Best quote (it was hard to choose, there are a ton, click here for more): "I think part of my success as an editor came from never worrying about a fact, a cause, an atmosphere. It was me — projecting to the public. That was my job. I think I always had a perfectly clear view of what was possible for the public. Give them what they never knew they wanted."

4. Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry - I find Ai WeiWei's fame hard to characterize - is he an artist? or a dissident? or simply a trouble maker? Alison Klayman's documentary presents him, somewhat, as all three. However you view it, he's an interesting guy.

Weiwei's best quote: "Once you’ve tasted freedom, it stays in your heart and no one can take it. Then, you can be more powerful than a whole country."

5. Exit Through the Gift Shop - Sorry everyone, the trailer for this movie is pretty awful, but the movie itself is actually quite good. The "documentary" (if the film is even real, most believe the whole storyline is a contrived "mockumentary") profiles a quirky french shopkeeper, who goes from being a Banksy fan to Banksy's main documentarian and accomplice. Then the rather odd shopkeeper becomes a somewhat famous artist himself. Basically the whole film mocks art and people who value it, while at the same time being about the art world.

Bansky's best quote: "I always used to encourage everyone I met to make art, I used to think everyone should do it. I don't do that so much anymore."

Film highlight - watching street artists at work - whether real or fake, who doesn't enjoy witnessing the collision of art and vandalism?


Places to Go - Cutting Down Our Christmas Tree and Jumping on the Gigantic Pillow at Ticonderoga Farms (Chantilly, VA)


I'm usually way behind the Jones' when it comes to Christmas decorating. But this year, I (okay, "we") are on the ball. We purchased our tree last Saturday, before December even began (which, if you know me, is all sorts of amazing).

This year we decided to tree shop at Ticonderoga Farms, based on KidFriendly DC's glowing review. And it turned out to be the perfect place for our family. We first checked out the huge pavilion of already-cut trees, but then we decided we needed to saw.

We've never cut down our own tree before (well, except, last year, when we chopped a tree in our backyard), so I found this whole experience sort of awesome. But the kids were bored within minutes (they complained while poor Dan sawed and sawed away). On the upside, my mom was visiting and she managed to grab some photos of our whole family (yay! I'm in the photos! I'm in the photos!).

Of course, the huge upside to Christmas tree shopping at Ticonderoga Farms is that on weekends they also have a "Winter Festival". For $7.95 a person there are slides and wobbly bridges and jumping pillows and friendly farm animals. Basically, all sorts of family fun, including fire pits to keep everyone warm and toasty. The kids had a blast. And I had a blast watching them have a blast.

If you're interested, click here for more info about the farm.


I keep trying to take photos of all three together, as such moments keep becoming harder and harder to come by spontaneously.



Things to Make - Everyday Advent Calendar (2014)

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For the past three years, I've made the kids an "everyday advent calendar" to count down the days til Christmas (click here to see previous calendars). I almost skipped this year, as the children become older we don't craft as much as used to. Plus every year I find it more and more challenging to find things that all three of them enjoy. But, this is my one dorky parental indulgence of the holiday season (well, and Santa hats). I sort of love putting it together and watching them unwrap a new "surprise" every morning. Here's the 2014 list, let's hope they like it:

December 1 - Let's make new friends. [Okay, so I sort of splurged here, but lately all three of my kids are into Lego Friends, so this seemed like an easy pick.]

December 2 - Let's create together.

December 3 - Let's make cookies together.

December 4 - Let's wii together. [Our old wii sports is scratched beyond use and Dan really wanted a new copy, so this is really for him (surprise honey!)]

December 5 - Let's tell jokes together.

December 6 - Let's watch a movie together (Elf).

December 7 - Let's play a new game together [we're like the only people I know who don't own Uno].

December 8 - Let's make (salt dough) ornaments together.

December 9 - Let's buy things for each other [each kids receives money for sibling gifts].

December 10 - Let's go ice skating together.

December 11 - Let's make snowflakes together.

December 12 - Let's be funny together.

December 13 - Let's help people together [each child receives money for the Gifts That Give Hope Gift Fair].

December 14 - Let's watch a movie together (The Christmas Story).

December 15 - Let's make gingerbread houses together.

December 16 - Let's look at Xmas lights and drink hot cocoa together.

December 17 - Let's make body scrubs for teachers' gifts together [click here for recipe].

December 18 - Let's watch a movie together (Muppet Christmas Carol [Netflix streaming] ).

December 19 - Let's party on the solstice together.

December 20 - Let's read together [books to be determined, though this one looks pretty awesome].

December 21 - Let's play a new game together.

December 22 - Let's be silly together.

December 23 - Let's watch a movie together (White Christmas [Netflix streaming]).

December 24 - Let's make cookies for Santa together.


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