Things to Do/Make - Everyday Advent Calendar (2015)


So I went a little overboard on the Countdown to Christmas this year (click here to see countdowns from years' past). But I love the daily presents. Plus, this year I bought a lot of new boardgames that we could all play together.

December 1 (Tuesday) - Family PJs from Old Navy and Gap (I love their 50% off sales, which occur frequently this year).

December 2 (Wednesday) - Coloring books and new markers (Colour Me Swiftly (Colour Me Good); Kid's Coloring Book: Fun Minecraft Drawings for Kids; Unicorns Are Jerks: a coloring book exposing the cold, hard, sparkly truth)

December 3 (Thursday) - We can't find our Monopoly game (seriously, how is it possible to lose a Monopoly game?), so I decided to upgrade to a new, fancy edition - Monopoly Here & Now Game

December 4 (Friday) - Ballet Nova's the Nutcracker with the girls(T and Dan watch a western).

December 5 (Saturday) - Money for the Gifts that Give Hope Gift Fair

December 6 (Sunday) - Cut down our Xmas tree

December 7 (Monday) - Family movie night, Elf

December 8 (Tuesday) - New books (For P - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland; For F - The 50 States: Explore the U.S.A with 50 fact-filled maps!; For T -
; Arnie, the Doughnut (The Adventures of Arnie the Doughnut)

December 9 (Wednesday) - Make wassail

December 10 (Thursday) - Hot chocolate with marshmallows

December 11 (Friday) - New Game - Splendor Board Game

December 12 (Saturday) - Make teachers' gifts (homemade decorated mugs filled with hot coco mix).

December 13 (Sunday) - Make cookies


December 14 (Monday) - Family movie night, Meet Me in Saint Louis

December 15 (Tuesday) - New game - Lost Cities - The Board Game

December 16 (Wednesday) - Mustaches - 36 Pack Fake Mustache Mustaches Novelty & Toy 36pk -Orange By Allures & Illusions

December 17 (Thursday) - Star Wars premiere

December 18 (Friday) - Check out the lights at this house (one of the top 15 most decked out homes in America).

December 19 (Saturday) - New books - The Imaginary World Of...for P; 642 Things to Write About: Young Writer's Edition - for F; I Really Like Slop! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) - for T

December 20 (Sunday) - The Extraordinaires Design Studio Deluxe Edition Game, Aqua Blue

December 21 (Monday) - Coup (The Dystopian Universe)

December 22 (Tuesday) - Poemotion 1 (awesome book of optical illusions)

December 23 (Wednesday) - Hanabi Card Game

December 24 (Thursday) - Family movie night, It's A Wonderful Life


Things to Do - Grateful List (October 2015) & Cherish This Day

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Just a few photos from our trip to Manassas Battlefield Park. Now that the weather has become colder, I like to remember October days so warm that the kids complained about the heat.

Happy Weekend everyone! Don't forget to click on over and see this week's awesomeness on Cherish This Day.

* Listening to the Essential Van Morison on rainy days
* Watching Iris (Netflix streaming)
* Watching the Martian in 3D as a family (so good!)
* Attending Josh Ritter's concert at Lincoln Theater for date night (totally obsessed with his new song, "Getting Ready to Get Down")
* Attending Ester Bubley's exhibit at the National Museum of Women and the Arts
* Attending Synetic Theater's production of Alice and Wonderland with the girls
* Reading My Documents (esp. Memories of a Personal Computer)
* Reading Mislaid
* Watching Goosebumps at the theater for F's birthday party/sleepover
* Watching Trainwreck at the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse for datenight
* Watching the Bourne Identiy for family movie night and T saying "I would go with him too. I like to live on the edge." (though really this was more of a WTF moment)
* Reading Elizabeth Bishop's travel poem

* Manassas Battlefield Park on Columbus Day (Cox Farms was too crowded)
* Claude Moore's Colonial Market fair as a family
* Mom's weekend in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
* An empty Tuesday at Cox Farms

* Tupelo Honey for Liz's b-day (so good)!
* Trader Joe's Harvest Blend herbal tea
* Taylor Gourmet's fall salads
* Apple cake (recipe from Date Night In)

* My new Sabah shoes
* My new Mahabis slipper/shoes

* T's reading recovery program (T has fallen a bit behind on reading so every morning he goes to school half an hour early to work one-on-one with a reading specialist, and we're amazed at how much progress he's made).
* Isla hugs at pick up & feeding the turtles with Isla at Longbranch Nature Center (I babysit a toddler for a few hours a week and she's so much fun!)
* T constantly saying, "If anyone needs me I'll be in the front yard." (What does he do there for hours a day?)
* T reading us books every night
* F's birthday shopping spree at Barnes and Noble
* A great family game of Settlers of Catan after a miserable Columbus Day weekend
* F's love of safety patrol
* An old man, a cowgirl, and a fortune teller for Halloween
* SO MUCH WORK - a wedding, a baby, an engagement, headshots, and five family photoshoots
* T, when he sees anyone resting on a bed, yelling "snugglefest!" and attacking
* Dan killed two deer this season. According to Dan, "nothing makes me feel better than when the butcher asks if I'm picking up or dropping off and I reply 'both'".


F - theater club, Garfield comics, Ramona Quimbly, fuzzy robes, laughing about my posed smile, Happy when she's Happy, dinner at my cousins' house

P - my Minion, playdates, sleepovers, my teacher, a bunch of stuff, sports, socializing

T - game day at school, playdates with Graham and Ian, playing tennis with dad, watching westerns with dad, Cox farms


Things to Do - Our Holiday Cards & Calendar from Pinhole Press

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Once again we went with Pinhole Press for our Holiday Cards. This year we didn't have a single family photo that wasn't an iphone snapshot, so I really wanted a card that allowed for multiple pictures, esp. since I took SO MANY PHOTOS in Europe. And I love Pinhole Press's clean designs.

Plus, it's wonderful that Pinhole Press lets you customize the message on the back of the card.

[By the way, sorry for the photo quality (the cards look much better in person], I love taking pictures of people, but I have no knack for styling and product photography].

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And their desktop calendars, as always, are lovely. I buy one every year and it keeps me on track (well, at least it keeps me more on track than I'd be without it).

Pinhole Press is offering 25% off holiday cards and address labels through Thanksgiving with the code HOLIDAY25. Click here to check out all their options.


(This post was sponsored by Pinhole Press, but the creative input is all me.)


Things to Do - Cherish This Day & Random Links

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We've had this plastic playhouse since the girls were toddlers. They haven't used it in years and I've tried to give away, but nobody seems to want it. So we keep it in the backyard, mainly because we're too lazy to cart it off to Goodwill. Then the other day, T and his friends reassembled it and a fort was born.

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Doesn't it look so cute? The boys playing with stuffed animals. Little did you realize, they're actually a warrior army, trained to attack pretty much anything. Childhood always looks more adorable from a bird's eye view.

Don't forget to check out this week's awesome on Cherish This Day.


* Life advice from 10 smart humans. I love these quotes.

* 15 picture books celebrating the lives of great artists, scientists, and writers.

* The best pull on pants for Thanksgiving and beyond. I think I need a few pairs.

* Amazon's list of the best children's books of 2015.

* Wouldn't these custom family portraits make a wonderful Xmas gift?

* I don't know what the answer is and I offer no solutions, but if these photos don't break your heart, then something is wrong with you.

* Everyone loves bacon - the book.

* I loved reading Kelly Hampton's post on marriage.


Things to Watch - Netflixing (November 2015)

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F broke her collarbone and soccer season for all three kids ended, so we have A LOT of time to watch TV this fall (for better or worse). Odd how the days changed so suddenly, a few weeks ago we were scurrying from one soccer practice to another one. And now we're all at home, together, walking the dogs and eating dinner by 6:30. I must admit, I'm loving this downtime.

So here are are current addictions:


* I just finished binge-watching Aziz Ansari's new Netflix show, Masters of None, which I'm totally obsessed with. Episode 9 might be my favorite episode of tv ever. The show is great in that it takes on hot topics such as: racism, sexism, parenthood, old people, etc. in insightful, non-preachy ways.

* Have you seen, What Happened Miss Simone? It's so good. A summary of Nina Simone's life and of the 1960s civil rights' movement. Now I can't stop listening to Mississippi Goddam over and over again.

* Dan has decided to rewatch all seasons of Arrested Development. Random fact, we almost named F May Bee because we were obsessed with that show when she was born. Luckily, we didn't because a few years later Call Me Maybe became a huge pop hit.

* I'm currently making my way through Ken Burn's The Roosevelts, which is the perfect background show while I edit photos. Teddy Roosevelt was kind of an egomaniac.


* The girls keep talking about the movie Standing Ovation, which has the subheading of "dance sing dream" and Hoodwinked, a "hilarious" movie about fairy tale characters.

* T continues to love Ninjago and the Avengers cartoon.

* On Saturday mornings, they all still like My Little Pony, Friendship is Magic.


* Peabody and Sherman is now a cartoon talk show (see photo above). We haven't had a chance to watch yet, but the cold days are coming and we're excited for something new.

* In the meantime, Dan and the kids are watching Once Upon a Time together, the kids seem to love it (I'm not so sure about Dan).

* And for family movie night, we've recently watched Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Footloose, two of my favorite movies ever.

[Disclaimer- I receive compensation for posting about Netflix, but I decide what I want to write about and what I want to say.]



Things to Do - One Sentence A Day (1st Grade Version)

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This year, T's needed a little extra help with his reading, so every morning he goes to school thirty minutes early for one-on-one tutoring. The lessons have been super helpful, we couldn't be happier.

During tutoring, one of T's daily activities is to tell his teacher a sentence, which she then writes down and cuts into pieces. For homework, T reconstructs his sentence.

An added benefit is that T's sentences have become the perfect diary of our lives. Every evening, Dan and I look forward to the newest addition. My favorites are highlighted below.

10/16 - I tripped over a cushion and I splattered my face.

10/19 - I went to Cox Farms but it was too crowded.
10/20 - I had fun when I played tennis with my dad.
10/21 - I went to a battlefield and it was fun.
10/22 - I am good at defense in soccer.

10/26 - I went to a block party.
10/27 - I am leaving early to go to Cox Farms.
10/28 - My dog is lazy because she is old.

11/2 - I went trick or treating with my friends.
11/4 - I was stung by a yellow jacket.
11/5 - I went to see Antman because my mom didn't have dinner ready.
11/6 - I have my sister's birthday party today.

11/9 - I raked leaves at a a playdate and got eight dollars.
11/10 - I was fast asleep when my dad woke me up.
11/11 - Today Graham and Ian are coming to my house.
11/13 - Yesterday my grandma came from Richmond.

11/16 - My sister broke her arm in soccer. [Actually, it was her collarbone, but yes, poor F, someone crashed into her during a soccer game. Though on the upside, F was goalie and she saved the ball.]
11/17 - Yesterday I got Arnie the Donut and Laurie Keller signed it.

Anyways, sorry for the lack of posts lately. But the sentences above provide a great summary of our lives these days!


Things to Do - Cherish This Day & Random Links


P turned 9 on Veteran's Day and we spent the afternoon at the zoo. She wanted to go to the Peanuts movie or rock wall climbing, but I insisted on staying outside while this t-shirt weather lasts. We returned home to Dan cooking a venison roast (he's killed two deer already this year), which was crazy good.

Since I'm working so much on weekends lately, it felt nice to have a weekday off with the kids. It goes so fast . . .

HAPPY WEEKEND!! Don't forget to check out this week's awesome over on Cherish This Day.


* NPR has a new blog devoted to finding good podcasts.

* Photolucida's Top 50 documentary photography projects. Prepare to be wowed.

* 37 Things You'll Only Understand if You Went to College in the 90s. I can't believe how spot on these are.

* Some of the best books of 2015.

* This poster hanging system is gorgeous (and much cheaper than any sort of frame). Especially when coupled with your own custom poster.


Things to Do - 10 Things I Like (November 2015)


I don't often write about material possessions on this blog. Partially because I really believe in the motto, "buy experiences not things" (hence why I'm always saving every spare dime for another vacation). And partially because when the kids were little our life suddenly seemed to explode with things (strollers, car seats, random plastic toys, etc.) and I felt no need to celebrate this proliferation of stuff.

But lately I've spent a lot of time editing photos and the last thing I feel like blogging is more photos. Plus, there are some things that make me happy, so why not organize them into a photoshop collage?

HAPPY MONDAY EVERYONE!! What are some of your favorite fall purchases?

1. I love this skirt. I love almost all of Metaformose's clothes (which are handmade to order for (somewhat) reasonable prices). I still haven't purchased anything else, but I keep browsing, esp. the coats. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a winter coat fitted perfectly for your body?

2. For the past few years we went through paper towels at breakneck speeds. It seemed like every time I blinked we needed another roll. Besides the environmental cost, they're a pain to buy/carry (so bulky). So when I read about these super absorbent kitchen towels(through epicurious) I decided to buy some. We now own over 50. For dinner parties, we'll use new ones as napkins and once they're soiled we'll throw the used ones in the laundry with other clothes. They're crazy absorbant in that one towel can handle almost any spill. Plus now we go through paper towels at a much slower pace.

3. It's butternut squash season, so I'm glad I own these ceramic knives. Perfect for cutting squashes, veggies, and fruits.

4. This is the perfect overnight lotion for dry, cold skin. And it's not super expensive.

5. I've been searching for years for the perfect camera bag and I've finally found it. Kelly Moore's Collins bag works great as a purse and/or camera bag. Plus, it can hold extra stuff on top (like when the kids all decide they're hot and hand me three hoodies).

6. I'm a Fitbit addict. I love that I no longer have to log onto a phone to check my steps.

7. I'm usually a black leggings type of girl, but every time I wear these super loud workout pants they make me smile.

8. I always buy these notebooks in bulk. They're cheap, durable, and perfect for jotting down notes/ideas/random observations.

9. I've been looking for a replacement for my Toms for awhile now, something with a little more support. These Sabah shoes are a little pricey, but they feel wonderful to wear and they look great with jeans. I want a few more pairs in different colors.

10. Another new shoe purchase - the slipper that becomes a shoe. It's so cheesy, but so comfy. I almost never take mine off.


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