Things to Eat - 6 Week Meal Plan (January/February 2017)

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Whenever I post meal plans, I have several people say to me, "wow, you must really love to cook." To which I reply, "Um, NO!!!!!!!"

I enjoy cooking, but no, I don't love it.

But I do love eating. And I love trying new foods. And I'm anti-pizza lately (sort of like watching the Bachelor, I reached a point where I couldn't watch another episode/look at another pizza menu, both seemed too reminiscent of Groundhog day).

So I cook. We cook. Everyone cooks. And, on the upside, I do love family dinner. So there's that.


MONDAY - Last meal salad (via The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon) and hot dogs for the kids. This salad takes some work, but it's so so good.

TUESDAY - Turkey meatballs in tomato sauce (via The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon). Making homemade meatballs takes some extra effort, but it is totally worth it. This is my "I feel like cooking" go-to meal.

WEDNESDAY - Sweet and sticky onion bake (recipe here).

THURSDAY - Lamb chops from TJ's (frozen section) and tomato/cucumber salad.

FRIDAY - Grilled cheese with bacon before F's basketball game.

SATURDAY - My family birthday dinner at Texas Jack's.

SUNDAY - Dan makes "a nice lasagna" (via Small Victories). Julia Turshen is amazing, I'll make whatever she creates.


MONDAY - I'm sick and Dan's out of town, F makes mac and cheese for all the kids (thank you honey!!).

TUESDAY - Burrito bowls (w/rice and black beans).

WEDNESDAY - Green salad (via The Forest Feast cookbook) and hot dogs. The kids are all in love with this salad, which is crazy good.

THURSDAY - One pan faro with tomatoes (via Smitten Kitchen, the blog) and brussels sprouts, apple, and pomegranate salad (via Smitten Kitchen, the blog). LOVED this dinner!!

FRIDAY - Dan make quesadillas.

SATURDAY - Dan makes Arroz con pollo (via Dinner a Love Story, the cookbook), while I photograph a 1 year old birthday party.

SUNDAY - Hamburgers and green salad (via The Forest Feast cookbook).

MONDAY - Leftovers.

TUESDAY - Polenta with tomato sauce & sausage.

WEDNESDAY - Green salad (via The Forest Feast cookbook) and hot dogs. Green salad continues to be a huge hit.

THURSDAY - Breakfast for dinner - pancakes (we love the recipe in Small Victories) and bacon.

FRIDAY - Frozen pizza.

SATURDAY - After march BBQ - hot dogs and hamburgers.

SUNDAY - Dan roasts chicken.


MONDAY - Moroccan spinach and chickpeas (via Moosewood). This is one of my favorite recipes. Nobody else in the family really likes it much (how is that possible?), so I try to make it when Dan's out of town and there are enough leftovers from other meals to feed the kids.

TUESDAY - Sausage and bell peppers in the crock pot with peach berry cobbler for dessert ("Dessert, on a weekday? Really?" - sometimes I like to wow my kids). The cobbler recipe is CRAZY EASY (via How to Celebrate Everything), F makes it on her own all the time now (because I guess we need more dessert).

WEDNESDAY - Black bean chilaquile (recipe here). This is one of my favorite recipes ever. And the kids love it too.

THURSDAY - Homemade sub sandwiches.

FRIDAY - Dinner at our neighbor's happy hour.

SATURDAY - Dan makes pork chops.

SUNDAY - Leftovers.


MONDAY - Orecchiette with sweet sausage bolognese (via How to Celebrate Everything). This is the perfect pasta recipe. Perfect.

TUESDAY - Chili in the crockpot.

WEDNESDAY - Baked potato bar (with left over chili) and brussels sprouts, apple, and pomegranate salad (via Smitten Kitchen, the blog).

THURSDAY - Leftovers.

FRIDAY - The kids all have dinner & sleepovers at friends' houses (yay!!), I make myself a salad for dinner.

SATURDAY - Lamb chops and asparagus risotto (all from TJs frozen aisle).

SUNDAY - Dan makes a huge tray of nachos for the super bowl.


MONDAY - Italian sausage stew with potatoes and cabbage (via Three Many Cooks, the blog). This is the best winter recipe, though we're not having much of a winter this year.

TUESDAY - Carnita bowls for Taco Tuesday (we made the carnitas in the crockpot).

WEDNESDAY - Dinner out with Shannon at Espita Mezcaleria (so so good!, I didn't want to leave). Dan makes dinner for himself and the kids.

THURSDAY - Nancy's chopped salad (via Smitten Kitchen, the blog), mac and cheese for the kids. Sometimes you want a really meaty salad. And when you do, this is the perfect recipe.

FRIDAY - Dan makes chicken and roasted potatoes.

SATURDAY - Leftovers.

SUNDAY - Dan makes homemade pizza and roasted cauliflower, feta, and orzo salad (salad recipe via Cravings, the cookbook). This was such a good dinner.


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

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Happy Friday everyone! Yet another gorgeous day 70 degree here in Northern VA.

The photo above is another one that I took at the Smithsonian American Art museum - there was something so cool about watching the kids "interact" with the art. I'm hoping to take P to the Hirschhorn's Yayoi Kusama exhibit today, but I'm nervous about the lines. Fingers crossed!

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


* Can you spot the women in these photos?

* 73 questions with Lena Dunham.

* 7 mistakes I made as a new photographer. I want to start using flash again (I use it for client sessions (sometimes), but rarely in my personal work).

* This children's book looks AMAZING!!

* I can't stop listening to this album.

* 34 books by women of color to read this year.

* THIS!!!!!!!

* 14 awesome tent camping experiences in VA. Every February I tell myself that we're going to camp all summer, but it never seems to work out that way. Anyways, North Creek Campground looks amazing - Dan could fish, I could hike - a total win.


Things to Do/Buy - Sock Panda (February 2017)

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I haven't posted on the awesomeness that is Sock Panda for awhile now, even though F continues to love getting her new, crazy socks in the mail. Honestly, one of the best gifts ever for a tween. And the socks continue to be both random and funny.

For more info, check out their website here. Sock Panda donates socks to those in need for every subscription purchased.


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Things to Do - Project 52, Weeks 3 & 4

I know people complain about how they have no photos of the third kid, but, in my experience, the exact opposite has occurred. The girls seem to need a lot of private time lately (with their bedroom door closed and locked), whereas T and his friends tolerate my presence while they shoot nerf bullets at each other.

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(1) Coco on the way to the dog park; (2) Self-portrait with T as he cleans up his nerf bullets; (3) Family hike; (4) P and Elizabeth Banks at the Smithsonian American Art Museum; (5) T, taking up the hallway; (6) A normal morning, with the boys on the couch and a flute in the background; (7) T's "crew"; (8) Another warm night at the playground; (9) Grandparent dance party; (10) The Women's March

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(1) The preschool hallway; (2) My bored 2nd grader; (3) The playground after school as the boys hid from my camera (see their legs?); (4) Nerf gun still life; (5) Even my bookworm doesn't seem to read books lately; (6) Portrait of a happy Thursday (with random light saber included); (7) After school fort building with some sibling rivalry


Things to Make - A Valentine's Photo Collage from Pinhole Press (and an Important Lesson About Spelling)

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Dan always asks me to print more of my photos, but I never rise to the occasion. I have trouble deciding what sizes to purchase or how/when/where to frame. In the past, in order to save money, I purchased frames from Ikea, but they keep falling off the walls (which is probably due to my poor hanging skills).

So I was quite smitten when I saw the framed photo collages on Pinhole Press's website (click here to check them out). And the fact that you can personalize one made it the perfect Valentine's Day gift for Dan. Since I leave everything to the last minute, I quickly found some of my favorite photos, finalized the collage, and hit the checkout button within moments of the shipping deadline (yay me!).

Did I mention I did this all quickly?

As much as I yell at my kids to CHECK their homework, I forgot to check my own. So instead of winning in 2017, we're "wining."

On the upside, when P's friend asked me if I just made wine drinking into a verb, I could respond, "yes, Mira, yes I did." And we do drink a lot of wine.

So maybe this version was meant to be. Because (if you haven't noticed) I love to make up words. And wining might be my best one yet.


** Note - The collage was provided by Pinhole Press, but the spelling mistakes are entirely my own (as are all opinions expressed).


Things to Do - Watch My Kids Grow Up

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I take literally (in the original sense) thousands of photos a week (my poor children). And I had no real expectations of the photo above, which was one of hundreds I shot in the last 30 minutes or so of daylight. But after the kids went to bed and I started editing some of the week's photos, I came across this picture and it made me catch my breath. She looks so OLD!

Lately, I find that little things often catch me off guard. Does anyone else with tweens feel the same way? Every day I'm so caught in the middle of it - fights over sleepovers, homework, GOING TO BED! - that weeks often go by where I fail to notice how quickly things change.

At the Women's March, I said to F, "It's going to be hard for you to see the screen, so I'll try to pick you up, even though you're heavier now, so I don't think I can carry you for very long." And she replied, "Um, mom, I'm the same height as you, I can see whatever you see." And I know that. I see that every day. But there's still this disconnect - while looking my daughter in the eye, I'm still thinking of her as someone who is much shorter than me. It makes no sense. But there it is. It's like she's both big and little at the same time.

As a teenager, I remember watching a car commercial with my mom, in which a father is teaching his daughter to drive. Rather than showing a teenage girl, the commercial features a small child in the driver's seat - it isn't until the end that you realize that the man sees a kid, despite the fact that a 16 year old is next to him. And my mom said, "it seems crazy, but it's true. that's how parenting is." And I thought that was ridiculous.

But it is true. How odd and sad and wonderful all at the same time.


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

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These crazy warm February days are confusing me. It does seem like, rather than winter, we're having one long spring. I'm not a huge fan of cold, but I must admit, I miss snow. How odd.

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


* Have you read the most popular book from the year you were born?

* 25 famous women on their mentors.

* Stranger Things (totally different from the TV show, but still pretty amazing).

* 8 Empowering middles school novels for kids interested in social justice.

* February tv preview.

* Women Photograph - LOVE LOVE LOVE this website!

* I recently blogged some family photo shoots and weddings over on my professional blog.

* Advice to a younger self.


Things to Read - 10 Books I Want to Read This Winter


So I read some bad books in 2016, but this year will be different. I think. Here's the list. Fingers crossed it is a good one!

1. Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets - Because the Nobel Prize. And Russia.

2. Pond - Because unusual. From Buzzfeed, "Pond provides one of the great pleasures of fiction: really getting into someone else’s mind and finding it both mundane and weirder than imaginable. Narrated by a woman living alone in a small, bucolic town, Pond concerns itself with the stuff of daily life—gardening, oven knobs, dinner parties, neighbors — yet renders these things strange, new, and bewitching through the fascinating perspective of the narrator."

3. Blankets - Because this graphic novel looks so so pretty.

4. The Bitch Is Back: Older, Wiser, and (Getting) Happier - Because "25 women discussing love, sex, work, family, independence, body-image, health, and aging" sounds incredible!

5. The Vegetarian - Because weird. From Amazon, "Before the nightmares began, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary, controlled life. But the dreams—invasive images of blood and brutality—torture her, driving Yeong-hye to purge her mind and renounce eating meat altogether. It’s a small act of independence, but it interrupts her marriage and sets into motion an increasingly grotesque chain of events at home. As her husband, her brother-in-law and sister each fight to reassert their control, Yeong-hye obsessively defends the choice that’s become sacred to her. Soon their attempts turn desperate, subjecting first her mind, and then her body, to ever more intrusive and perverse violations, sending Yeong-hye spiraling into a dangerous, bizarre estrangement, not only from those closest to her, but also from herself."

6. Walk Through Walls: A Memoir - Because Marina Abramović's performance art is so unique (have you seen the documentary about her on Netflix?)

7. The Mothers - Because several critics listed this as one of the best books of the year. Plus, my friend Deb said it was good and her recommendations are always the best.

8. Between the World and Me - Because I'm embarrassed I haven't read this yet.

9. Rolling Blackouts: Dispatches from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq - Because I loved Jerusalem so I want to read more graphic novels about far away places.

10. An Association of Small Bombs - Because critics loved it. And hopefully they're right.


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