Places to Go - Cox Farm's Fall Festival (Centreville, VA) & Cherish This Day


We tried to go to Cox Farms twice over Columbus Day weekend and failed. The first time some rain kept us away. And the second time the farm was so crazy crowded that I promised the kids I'd take them out of school for an afternoon if we turned around.

So this Tuesday I made good on my promise and we finally spent and afternoon at one of the DC area's premiere fall festivals. A storm was on its way, making the day rather chilly and overcast (perfect for photos!), so we practically had the place to ourselves.

I've had my busiest photography season ever this year, which I'm so grateful for, but it means that I'm not home much on weekends. And weekdays are always so full of practices and homework. I can't explain how nice it felt to take an afternoon off and play with my children.

I've taken so many photos lately, of so many wonderful people. But it felt so good to finally take some of my own kids. I've missed days like this.

Cox is open daily through November 3rd, so if your kids have next Tuesday off school think about making a visit. Click here for more info. HAVE A GREAT HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!!! Don't forget to check out this week's awesome on Cherish This Day.


Slide through the wild west? We'll check that off our bucket list.


Every year the cornmaze is my favorite part.


We've been on this hayride SO MANY TIMES, yet year the kids can't wait to go again.



Things to Eat - The Last Meal Salad & 5 Week Meal Plan

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* 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
* 1 large leek, halved and cleaned
* Sea salt
* 4 cups (5 ounces) arugula
* 1 head (5 ounces) chopped red leaf lettuce
* 1 english cucumber, diced
* 1/2 cup dried cherries
* 1/2 cup cooked black lentils (I buy the precooked lentils from the Trader Joe's refrigerated section)
* 1/2 cup chopped almonds
* 1/2 cup feta (optional)
* Everyday Green Dressing (recipe below)

1. In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Slice the leek into think half circles and add them to the pan with a pinch of salt. Cook about 6-8 minutes until the edges are crispy. Let cool.

2. Wash and dry greens and add them to a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix.


* 2 cloves garlic
* 3 green onions, white and green parts
* 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
* 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
* Zest and juice of two lemons
* 1 tablespoon honey
* 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
* 1 cup whole greek yogurt
* 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
* 3/4 cup parsley
* 1 cup cilantro
* 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1. In a good blender or food processor pulse the garlic through the honey.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients. Blend.

- slightly adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon: Simple and Inspired Whole Foods Recipes to Savor and Share


MONDAY - Leftovers from Sunday (pork chops and zucchini).

TUESDAY - Turkey chili (via IT'S ALL GOOD: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great). Family favorite, I could almost live on this.

WEDNESDAY - California quinoa (via The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon: Simple and Inspired Whole Foods Recipes to Savor and Share) which is easy and so so good; mac and cheese with edamame for the kids.

THURSDAY - Grilled chicken Mediterranean plate (via Dinner: A Love Story: It all begins at the family table). I thought this was an awesome idea, but the kids didn't love it.

FRIDAY - Trader Joe's pizza (feeling super lazy) and peas.


MONDAY - Perogies and peas (super lazy dinner night).

TUESDAY - The master hash (via Cooking Light); wow, this was fantastic, not one bite left over, we'll be having it again.

WEDNESDAY - Two cheese veggie nachos (via Cooking Light). The kids did their best to eat around all the veggies, which sort of ruined the point of the meal.

THURSDAY - Sausages with sauerkraut with a side of brussels sprouts/bacon/apple (via Martha Stewart). Nothing tastes as good as brussels sprouts with bacon and apples. Nothing.

FRIDAY - Skillet lasagna (via Dinner: A Love Story, the blog). This is probably our least healthy dinner staple, but it's easy and tastes so good.


MONDAY - Zatinya with Dan for date night; the kids eat pasta and peas.

TUESDAY - Leftovers from this weekend - Dan's arrabiata sauce with pasta and a kale salad.

WEDNESDAY - Chicken and white bean chili (via IT'S ALL GOOD: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great). I love Gwynenth, but this isn't one of her best recipes, it tasted like tomato sauce with beans.

THURSDAY - Crock pot carnitas (Taco Tuesday moved to Thursday this week). Easy and yummy.

FRIDAY - Cava for F's birthday.


MONDAY - Flank steak with chimichurri and tomato/cucumber/arugula salad recipe. IT'S ALL GOOD: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great has the absolute best chimichurri recipe. I could almost eat it without steak.

TUESDAY - Baked potatoes with a cucumber/tomato salad (yes, super lazy night).

WEDNESDAY - Baked orzo with mozzarella and oregano (via A Day That is Dessert) with a side of zucchini, dill, and almonds (via 101 Cookbooks). This was good, but probably not worth the amount of work it took to make. The kids (and Dan) loved the pasta, but ate around the eggplant (which was my favorite part).

THURSDAY - Dan makes soup and the dogs eat it all off the counter. So sandwiches for dinner. Sadness.

FRIDAY - Roasted green pozole with chicken (via Date Night In: More than 120 Recipes to Nourish Your Relationship). This was good, but not as good as other recipes in the cookbook. Everyone ate some for dinner, but nobody ate the leftovers. We did, however, also make Date Night In's apple cake and it was crazy good. As in CRAZY GOOD!

SATURDAY - Dan makes cod and salmon w/cold slaw salad.


MONDAY - Silver Dollar night (school fundraiser).

TUESDAY - Slow cooker chicken burrito bowls (via the kitchn). The return of Taco Tuesday!! I can't believe how easy these were, I'm going to make this recipe all the time.

WEDNESDAY - Italian "drunken" noodles (via Not-So-SAHM). I couldn't figure out how to spiralize the butternut squash, so I cut it into small junks. Other than that, this recipe was amazing, no leftovers. Everyone loved it.

THURSDAY - The last meal salad (via The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon: Simple and Inspired Whole Foods Recipes to Savor and Share) with mac and cheese for the kids.

FRIDAY - Moms' weekend at the beach, the kids and Dan are on their own.


Things to Do - Grateful List (September 2015)


Sometimes you take your kids to an amazing all day music festival on the National Mall and all they want to do is read books and dig in the dirt. Oh well, we try to be cool parents, but some weeks are easier than others (plus kids were free and we didn't feel like paying a babysitter). Sometimes they danced. Really. I just forgot to photograph that.


* Watching the League, Season 6 (Netflix streaming). Still my favorite show on television and my favorite sitcom of all time.
* Watching Narcos, Season 1 (Netflix streaming). Prepare to binge watch.
* Watching Force Majure (Netflix streaming)
* Watching Miss Representation with the kids (Netflix streaming). F wants to change the world now more than ever.
* Listening to Houndmouth
* Listening to Ryan Adams, 1989
* Listening to Chvurches, Every Open Eye
* Listening to my Sangria at Soccer Practice mix
* Attending Women Eating Salad Alone at Wooly Mammoth with Allegra, with drinks afterwards at Rasika
* Going to American Moments: Photographs from the Collection at the Philips' Collection
* Attending the Landmark Music Festival as a family (so much good music!)
* Reading Kate Atkinson's Life After Life

* The Smithsonian American History Museum's new Innovations wing (so. much. fun.)
* Empty pools at the end of summer
* A family Saturday dog walk by Longbranch Nature Center (still love this place)
* Zipling and sliding at the National Cathedral's Beauvoir playground
* Journey Yoga's new Wednesday yin class (so. relaxing.)
* MD Renaissance Festival
* A day at the zoo (esp. the small mammal house) with Isla
* Attending Wanderlust (5K-yoga festival) with Ann
* The playground with T and the dogs after dark on a moonless night (T was a secret ninja)

* The last meal salad from The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon: Simple and Inspired Whole Foods Recipes to Savor and Share (pretty much the best salad ever).

* My new camera bag. I've been looking for a camera bag that also makes a great purse, this works as either or both.

* Jim and Val are back!
* Our labor day happy hour/party
* The fact that almost all the children in our neighborhood know all the lyrics to Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" (how did this happen? It wasn't through me)
* Movie night and drinks at the neighbor's after the back to school picnic
* Drinks with Lola
* Working out again with Myra (my personal trainer) after a 3 month break
* Wine night makeovers
* Neighborhood kids stopping by and teaching T how to skateboard
* Photographing a gorgeous Rust Manor wedding
* Watson visiting with his girlfriend and making us dinner
* T's friend - "do your sisters really think they can run faster than us?" T - "Not only can they run faster, they are stronger than us too. You can't beat them up, trust me, I've tried."


F - A nice house to live in and food to eat, my family, that everything is so great, Happy & Coco, books

P - My family, Calvin and Hobbes, school, Laney, soccer, my teacher, playdates and sleepovers, that Halloween is coming

T - my family, school, Mateo coming in the morning, helping you with your photoshoot [at Rust Manor], working with Ms. C, my nunchucks, Halloween, my playdate with Julia, skateboarding with Cole and Jack, going to the music festival


Things to Watch - Five Great New(ish) "Indie" Movies on Netflix Streaming

I'm not really sure what constitutes an indy movie anymore, but most of these weren't main stream releases, so I'm going with that.

1. Iris - Iris Apfel rose to fame at the age of 84 when The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute premiered an exhibition about Iris's style. This documentary features Iris one year later. It's a great look at old age, creativity, and the need to "be yourself."

Best quote - "I would advise you to be happy rather than well-dressed. It’s better to be happy.”

Second best quote - "I never felt pretty. I don’t feel pretty now. I’m not a pretty person. I don’t like pretty so I don’t feel badly and I think it worked out well because I found, for instance, all the girls that I know who were very pretty girls and got by on their looks, as time went on and they faded… they were nothing. And they were very, very disappointed. When you’re somebody like myself, in order to get around and be attractive, you have to develop something, you have to learn something and you have to do something so you become a bit more interesting. And when you get old, you get by on that. Anyway, I don’t happen to like pretty. Most of the world is not with me but I don’t care."

2. Rich Hill - This documentary follows three teenage boys and their families, living in near poverty. Super depressing and beautifully filmed. A fascinating look at the America you never really see.

Best quote - “I pray every night. Nothing’s came, but that ain’t gonna stop me. This is what goes through my mind: God has to be busy with everyone else. Eventually he will come into my life. I hope it happens. It’s gonna break my heart if it don’t.”

3. Nightcrawler
- Rumor is Jake Gyllenhaal was upset about not receiving an Academy Award nomination for his role as a creepy (super creepy) news photographer of late night car crashes. It's a dark, gloomy movie, but yet fascinating to watch; one of the best movies I saw this year.

Best quote - "A friend is a gift you give yourself."

4. Force Majure - This Swedish movie (subtitles) follows a beautiful upper class family on a ski vacation in the French Alps when a near-tragedy occurs. Nobody is injured (spoiler) but the movie deals with the aftermath. It's a depressing film with a beautiful setting, which makes you wonder what you'd do in similar circumstances.

Best quote - "Okay, is everyone happy now?"

5. Moonrise Kingdom - I actually haven't watched this yet, but Wes Anderson always makes beautifully crafted sets and stories, so I'm sure it's good.


* The Netflix Streamteam just sent us a giant TV (thank you!!), so I (obviously) receive compensation for writing these posts. But I decide what to write.


Things to Do - Cherish This Day & Random Links

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This is one of my favorite photos of T and P, taken when we were in Toledo, Spain. I love when I just walk in on moments like this. I'm not sure they even realized I was there. Don't forget to check out more Friday awesomeness over on Cherish This Day. Happy weekend!!


* Classrooms around the world.

* 2015 fall books preview - these look awesome! Also, the New Yorker has a list of their contributors autumn reads.

* Exactly.

* There are SO MANY ways to celebrate Halloween in DC (with your kids) - check them out here. On a similar note, Synetic Theater's new Alice in Wonderland play looks awesome.

* 25 birthday gifts under $25. This is a fabulous list, worth bookmarking for Xmas too.

* Have you seen the prints for sale at Eventide Collective? So so pretty. (link via Cup of Jo)

* Is anyone else listening to Limetown? I'm totally addicted.

* 20 ways to celebrate fall right now. I love each and every one of these ideas.


Places to Go (Vacation) - Tips and Tricks for Backpacking in Europe with Kids - Dragging Our Kids Through Europe, Finale

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During our trip, I asked the kids and Dan if they had any advice to offer people undertaking a similar vacation. Here are their response:

P -

* Make sure to stay in the shade in Venice.
* In Paris, always dress really nice.
* Try not to fight.
* Buy a special hat.

F -

* Avoid all restaurants with 80s music, parents dance really weird. Hint, Mom, hint.
* Keep a journal.
* Focus on the architecture, not the heat.
* Eat lots and lots of dessert.

T -

* Annoy your parents.
* Go to the bathroom before you leave somewhere.
* Bring summer clothes and a big bag.

Dan -

* Drink red wine and learn how to order the house red in the local language.
* Ignore all whining, they can power through.

And (of course), I had lots of advice:

* Postagram is an awesome app for sending postcards to friends (plus you don't have to buy stamps).
* Travel chess/backgammon is perfect for downtime as are Kindles and Kindlefires.
* Bring lots of water bottles.
* Sunsets in Paris around 10 pm, so sleep late and eat late.
* Have a plan, but realize detours are inevitable.
* Buy laminated city maps (available from Amazon) of all the major cities you visit (and that way you don't have to use your phone's data).
* Ice cream/gelato cures everything.
* Turkish towels pack easily and they make great extra blankets and/or beach towels.
* Try not to plan too many organized tours or museums, kids like to explore on their own terms (or at least our kids did).
* When you do take organized tours book through Context, they're amazing.


* We wish we would have bought all the kids hiking backpacks, instead of making P and T use their school backpacks (both of which broke because they weren't meant to carry heavy weight).
* Most cabs will only take 4 passengers, so if you're a family of five plan accordingly. And, ideally, learn about public transportation options before you arrive somewhere.
* Keens are great for travel (they go from hiking to the ocean), but wow do they smell bad.
* Bring reusable bags and laundry pods (we had a hard time finding laundry detergent in small stores).
* Unlike in 1998, Eurorail passes are no longer a good deal (because most trains require reservations, which can sell out), buy individual tickets instead.
* Graffiti and cigarettes are everywhere, which my kids found very very odd (lots of questions about why people smoke).


Places to Go (Vacation) - DISNEYLAND PARIS (Days 23) - Dragging Our Kids Through Europe, Part XII


For our final day in Europe we wanted some sort of grand finale, thus we planned a trip to Versailles. But one week prior to arriving we learned that Versailles is closed on Mondays. Oops. So we went with our (okay, really my) second option - Disneyland Paris. And I can't pretend I was sad about the switch (though, poor Dan, on the other hand, was very sad. Sorry honey!!).


Disney Paris isn't quite as fancy as its Orlando counterpart. First of all, there are only two parks - Disneyland (i.e. Magic Kingdom) and Disney Studios, you can see tour the best of both in one day (they're right next to each other). Second, the castle is smaller and the updates aren't as flashy. It sort of reminded me of Disneyworld in the early 80s (yay nostalgia!). But the big bonus is that it's an easy metro ride from Paris's city center.

Anyways, if you're not a huge Disney fan, Disney Paris might not be the best place for you. But I was pretty entranced! We all agreed that Paris had a better Pirates of the Caribbean and a worse Haunted Mansion. Plus, Ratatouille might be one of the best rides in any Disney park, it's incredible. On the downside, there are more height requirements than we were used to, so we missed out on the Indiana Jones roller coaster and Space Mountain Mission 2 (sadness).


Cinderella's castle has all these gorgeous stained glass windows.


And Snow White is still a ride!!


Pinocchio is a ride too!


And you can run/find yourself lost in/explore Alice in Wonderland's labyrinth.


You can take a boatride though all the Disney kingdoms in miniature.


But most importantly, you can bond with all the usual suspects!


Rather than eat in the park, we decided to check out the Mexican restaurant underneath our rental apartment and it was so so good. The kids are still talking about how it's the best Mexican food they've ever had. And the margaritas! So much wonderfulness.

The next morning we wandered around Paris for a few hours and then caught our flight back to the states. Somewhat sad to be leaving, but excited (at least for me) to have clean laundry again. And, in case you're wondering, the airline found my bag (one week later) and delivered it to Arlington. Yay!!


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