Things to Eat - Summer Meal Plan (June through July)

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MONDAY - Chris's arroz con pollo at the beach house.

TUESDAY - Kelly's taco bar at the beach house.

WEDNESDAY - Dinner at Lalibela Ethiopian on our way home from Nags Head.

THURSDAY - TJ's chicken tenders and frozen risotto.

FRIDAY - Maggie's pasta (recipe here).

SATURDAY - Eat at the wedding I'm photographing.

SUNDAY - My mom comes to visit, so we take her to our favorite Ethiopian restaurant (Lalibela on Columbia Pike & Glebe Road) - love this place!



MONDAY - Grilled pepper and torn mozzarella panzanella (via Smitten Kitchen's blog) with smoked sausage and cherry tomatoes on the side (in case the kids didn't want the salad).

TUESDAY - Zuni chicken (via Gwyneth's It's All Easy). I love this recipe.

WEDNESDAY - Perogies and leftovers.

THURSDAY - Lasagna at Arlington's Outdoor Lab (as I chaperone a 5th grade camping trip).

FRIDAY - Italian Store subs for Wilco at Wolf Trap. The kids eat mac and cheese at home.

SATURDAY - I have a photoshoot, Dan makes pasta with italian sausage.

SUNDAY - Dan makes pork chops and potatoes.



MONDAY - Easy warm couscous salad (via Cup of Jo) and hot dogs. I loved this salad but the kids didn't agree. So it goes. I'm having a hard time seeing them on a lot of salad.

TUESDAY - Vegetarian tacos (cauliflower and corn).


THURSDAY - Tabouli and chicken fingers.

FRIDAY - Dan makes fish sticks.

SATURDAY - I have a photo shoot and Dan has the "Dad Olympics", so F makes mac and cheese for the kids.

SUNDAY - Dinner in Kennett Square, PA before the Josh Ritter concert (we took the whole family for Father's Day).



MONDAY - Dan makes sausage, broccoli, and parmesan pasta. Yum!

TUESDAY - Dan grills steaks. Corn as a side.

WEDNESDAY - TJ's polenta with sides of cooked chicken sausage, marinara sauce, and parmesan cheese. And a blueberry/strawberry salad. This is one of my favorite easy meals. The kids eat the polenta different ways - F makes with sandwiches with the polenta and sausage, whereas T and P want everything on the side. It's an easy way to make everyone happy.

THURSDAY - Dinner out with friends, Dan cooks for himself and the kids.

FRIDAY - Our annual end of the school year solstice party - Dan makes a GIGANTIC pot of gumbo.

SATURDAY - Order pizza after the Nationals Game (everyone was too tired to cook).

SUNDAY - I have a photoshoot, Dan makes pasta.



MONDAY - Dinner at Great Wolf Lodge (I love a good Living Social deal).

TUESDAY - Lentil salad with tomatoes (recipe here); chicken tenders for the kids.

WEDNESDAY - I have a photoshoot; Dan and the kids go to Silver Diner, I come home and make gazpacho with goat cheese (yum!) (recipe here).

THURSDAY - Dinner with friends at Cava; Dan feeds the kids.

FRIDAY - Lalibela Ethiopian restaurant. We love this place.

SATURDAY - Overnight backpack in Shenandoah National Park. We cooked store-bought freeze-dried meals that all tasted horrible. Luckily we had snacks.

SUNDAY - Whole Foods carryout in Charlottesville, VA after we drop F off at summer camp (10 whole days!!). The dogs were in the hotel room with us so we couldn't go out to eat.


MONDAY - Dinner out at Marble & Rye after the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

TUESDAY - 4th of July BBQ battle at friends' house - Dan makes ribs.

WEDNESDAY - Dan makes pasta.

THURSDAY - Baja fish tacos (recipe here). One of our favorite staple recipes. Everyone loves it.

FRIDAY - Kids out of town - dinner with Dan at Taqueria el Poblano on Columbia Pike.

SATURDAY - Dinner at a wedding I'm photographing

SUNDAY - Date night dinner at Espita Mezcaleria.

WEEK 7 - Kids out of town Mon- Friday

MONDAY - Fennel bean salad (via Food 52 Mighty Salads). I'm in love with this new cookbook.

TUESDAY - Pasta with sausage (use up leftovers).

WEDNESDAY - Date night dinner at Texas Jacks.

THURSDAY - Date night dinner at Mazagan with friends.

FRIDAY - Kids and Dan out of town, I make gazpacho for myself before a friend's wine night.

SATURDAY - Zuni chicken (via Gwyneth's It's All Easy) for everyone's return home. I love this recipe.

SUNDAY - Dan grills hot dogs and hamburgers.


MONDAY - Tomato, corn, and chickpea salad (via Cup of Jo) with pasta on the side. This is the perfect summer salad. PERFECT!

TUESDAY - Crockpot carnitas before the King and I.

WEDNESDAY - Leftovers.

THURSDAY - Dan makes fish for the kids (I got out to eat with a friend).

FRIDAY - Pasta with bacon and corn (via Smitten Kitchen's blog).

SATURDAY - Dinner at Silver Diner.

SUNDAY - BBQ at a friend's house.


MONDAY - Steaks with chimichuri sauce and homemade tabouli.

TUESDAY - P - "mom, we're all sort of hungry but not really hungry. So can we just make our own dinners? I really want ramen." (It's definitely summertime).

WEDNESDAY - Clean out the freezer - Trader Joe's chicken fingers and risotto.

THURSDAY - Dinner at Lalibela Ethiopian.

FRIDAY - Leave for vacation!!


Things to Read - 10 Books I Want to Read this Summer

Last year's list was a bit of a disappointment (except for Emma Cline's The Girls, which was phenomenal), but this year I'm hoping to do better. Here goes . . .


1. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness - Because I want a book that I can get lost in and this seems perfect. According to Amazon, "The Ministry of Utmost Happiness takes us on an intimate journey of many years across the Indian subcontinent—from the cramped neighborhoods of Old Delhi and the roads of the new city to the mountains and valleys of Kashmir and beyond, where war is peace and peace is war."

2. The Blazing World - Feminism and plagiarism all in one novel.

3. How Lucky You Are - So I'm super excited about this book because it sounds really good and it was written by a local. Kristyn Lewis is an Arlington mom and one of the nicest people I've met. How cool is that? Plus, it's about female friendships.

4. Lincoln in the Bardo - Truthfully, this book sounds a little too odd even for me (Lincoln in a ghost-filled purgatory), but I love George Saunders and a good friend recommended it, so I'm going to give it a try. Plus, I'm curious.

5. I Love Dick - Several of my friends raved about this TV show, but I was mixed. Yes, I love that female sexuality was the focus, but everyone was just a little too over-the-top. So now I want to read the book and compare.


6. Transit - This is part of a trilogy that began with the book Outline (which was so good!!), I can't wait to read the newest installment.

7. Rich People Problems - Every reading list needs a guilty pleasure. Here it is.

8. The Idiot - A novel about a female artist? Count me in. Plus, critics say it is funny. And I could use something funny.

9. Exit West - Hamid's novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist was one of the best books I've read in the past few years. And this is his newest book. I'm totally excited. Plus, who doesn't love a love story?

10. Borne - A post apocalyptic novel about an animal/plant/pet. Sounds interesting.


Things to Do - Project 52, Weeks 25 & 26

I'm finally catching up on this project. Yay!! These were the last two weeks of June.

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WEEK 25 - The last week of school.

(1) Bicycle helmets and popsicles on the front lawn.
(2) P finds the last week of school exhausting.
(3) Last day of school.
(4) Our 4th annual last day of school/solstice block party.
(5) My last week with this awesome kid before she goes to kindergarten next year.
(6) F's promotion ceremony for middle school.
(7) The nature center (it was was "mixed up" clothes day at school).
(8) Hats are fun.
(9) Our last day of school/solstice block party.
(10) Fireworks to celebrate the beginning of summer.

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WEEK 26 - The first week of summer vacation. Basically I worked and the kids needed to entertain themselves, hence the lack of photos (except for a weekday trip to GWL and a weekend family backpacking trip).

(1) T brought an airplane on our first family overnight backpacking trip (in Shenandoah National Park).
(2) York River State Park after a night at Great Wolf Lodge.
(3) P backpacking on the trail.
(4) The Lincoln Memorial in the evening (before a family photo shoot).
(5) Great Wolf Lodge.
(6) One more Great Wolf Lodge shot.


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

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Happy Friday!! I hope you all are having a great summer! The photo above is from our annual solstice/last day of school block party. Once water enters the picture everything became chaos.

If you have a chance, don't forget to check out this week's awesome on 5 Hours 'Til Bedtime! Have a great weekend!


* 32 Hilton hotel rooms in different countries (oddly fascinating).

* Have you seen these creative architectural portraits? They're so so cool.

* This book sounds really good.

* 11 ways that I, a white man, am not privileged.

* Funny third grade reading list. Bookmarking for T.

* This look yummy.

* I really want to see this female photography exhibit in Chicago.

* Emmy snubs and surprises.

* 10 cool summer date ideas in DC.


Things to Do - Project 52, Weeks 23 & 24

Our everyday in the beginning of June . . .

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(1) Grandma Troutman came to visit and P couldn't stop playing Scrabble with her.
(2) Artechouse's XYZT exhibit with my mom and the kids (have you been yet? it's pretty cool).
(3) Rather than clean up the vacuum cleaner I took a photo of the cord.
(4) T on the iPad.
(5) F having a blast at Yard Park.

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(1) T outside on his iPad.
(2) I love when the girls both have their friends over and everyone hangs out together.
(3) Sibling bonding during a dog walk.
(4) Besties playing basketball.
(5) I can't figure out what to do with our signs from the Women's March, I don't want to throw them away so they remain in the corner of our living room.
(6) Three generations of Mathesons with T's new bow that Dan bought him as a birthday present.
(7) Sisters on a dog walk.


Things to Do/ Places to Go - 10 Days of Summer Fun (the Countdown)

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To be honest, the summer did not start off with a bang. For the first two weeks I had to work everyday and I assumed the kids could mostly entertain themselves (the first week P had basketball camp and the second week F had sleep away camp, but T was here). I was wrong. At first, they loved the unstructured lazy days, but then boredom set in. And trying to edit while bored kids complained in the background was a NIGHTMARE!

Luckily, last week their grandparents picked them up and took them to Smith Mountain Lake (yay!!) and I worked crazy hours trying to get all my editing done (I'm 90% there). This break from parenting allowed me to regroup and come up with a plan (as you've all probably realized, I love a plan). So here goes . . .

DAY 1 - MON - Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in the morning (according to Kidfriendly DC the flowers are in peak bloom and look amazing), the pool in the afternoon. (rain plan - switch to day 3).

DAY 2 - TUESDAY - Apple Camp in Clarendon in the morning (it's free!), pool in the afternoon, and the King and I at the Kennedy Center at night (when I was a kid, my grandmother took me to see this play and I still remember loving it, so now it's my turn to take my kids).

DAY 3 - WEDNESDAY - Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (including butterflies and the IMAX Amazon movie at 11:20).

DAY 4 - THURSDAY - Apple Camp in Clarendon in the morning (it's free!), followed by Nicecream, which everyone says is phenomenal. Ice skating at Kettler in the afternoon (public skate is 3:40 to 4:40 on weekdays).

DAY 5 - FRIDAY - Apple Camp in the morning (it's free!) followed by chores to earn spending money for vacation. At night if everyone is motivated, drive to the Lincoln Memorial for a picnic.

DAY 6 - SATURDAY - Flag Ponds Nature Park and/or hiking at Potomac Overlook Park (rain plan - switch with day 8).

DAY 7 - SUNDAY - Spiderman in the theaters in the morning, pool in the afternoon. If everyone is motivated, at night drive to the Jefferson Memorial and watch the sunset.

DAY 8 - MONDAY - Newseum. Kids are free in the summer.

DAY 9 - TUESDAY - Apple Camp in Pentagon City (it's free!) with lunch/shakes at Shake Shack and the pool in the afternoon.

DAY 10 - WEDNESDAY - Tour the Mansion on O Street (thank you KidFriendly DC for the suggestion).

THURSDAY and FRIDAY - Get ready for vacation . . .


Things to Do - Grateful List (May/June 2017)

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* Watching Guardians of the Galaxy 2 for family date night (so good!)
* Watching Wonder Woman with my mom and the kids
* Watching Girls, Season 6 (especially episode 3)
* Watching Shameless, Season 7 (this is BY FAR the best show on TV).
* Watching Neighbors 2 (which was shockingly funny)
* Watching Manchester by the Sea
* Reading Rich and Pretty
* Reading Anything is Possible

* A not-very-hot Sunday at Claude Moore Colonial Farm's market fair
* Artomatic with P on a rainy Sunday
* Artechouse's XYZT exhibit with my mom and the kids
* Attending Wilco at Wolf Trap for date night
* Last minute Nats tickets from a client (thank you!!)

* Trunk Club (esp. Derek Brandt, my stylist)

* Cooler temps in May (after a really hot April)
* Jim and Val in town from Indonesia
* T's May 9th grateful list: (1) that my mom didn't break her foot [I thought I did]; (2) that Coco is not dead yet [she's getting old]; (3) my family; (4) nerf guns
* Straight As for P and F (T doesn't receive grades yet)
* The grade school spring concert - F's flute solo ("I am sixteen going on seventeen") and F's performances in bucket drummers, music makers, and cello. P's music makers and flute performances.
* F scored one of two goals to win her team's soccer game
* Dan and P repainting the kitchen
* A week of wine nights and happy hours
* T and his friends fort building and nerf gunning for HOURS after school
* "Isla what makes you so awesome?" "Well, a beautiful day with beautiful dresses and being nice to animals all the time."
* F and her friends STILL singing Hamilton all morning (actually, I'm pretty over it, but it's probably better than other music 5th graders would love)
* P and my mom playing Scrabble all the time
* An afternoon off school - Shake Shack and Ice Cream Jubilee
* F rocking out her piano recital
* P's comment on T's birthday - "I was 8 once. Nobody cared."
* T's love of his new bow
* 9 kids of all ages playing sardines together on an early release day (they were hiding everywhere)
* P to T, "Adults usually swear when they drink, haven't you learned anything from watching our parents."
* T receiving the good citizenship award (only two kids in each classroom are recipients)
* Our 4th annual summer solstice/last day of school block party

* Great Wolf Lodge and Yorktown/Jamestowne with P's 4th grade class
* Camping in Arlington's Outdoor Lab with F's fifth grade class
* Camping in Shenandoah River State Park (F reading, T attending the fire, P exploring) and the smell of honeysuckle everywhere
* Josh Ritter's concert at Longwood Gardens for Father's Day (we took the whole family) & T belting out the lyrics to "Getting Ready to Get Down"
* One night at Great Wolf Lodge (T and his friends loved playing hide and seek in the hotel room's xx cabin)

VACATION - Our annual Memorial week beach house in Nags Head, NC (8 families, 36 people)
* "Darcy, your room looks like your car." - Isla
* Perfect weather and conversations
* Sleeping 10 hours a night (I'm getting old)
* Margaritas with beer
* T and F rocking out the lip sync contest


Places to Go (Vacation) - Josh Ritter at Longwood Gardens (Kennett Square, PA)

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Dan and I both love Josh Ritter's music, we've seen him in concert 4 or 5 times and he's always incredible. So when I learned that he had a concert in Longwood Gardens on Fathers Day, we decided to take the kids and make a mini-vacation out of it (does one night count as a vacation?).

The concert tickets came with full-day garden admission and we had a fantastic time exploring (especially the fountain show where the water dances along to music), though wow was it hot. And the concert was PHENOMENAL, as I knew it would be - music plus fireflies always makes for a wonderful night.

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F bought Dan the Raging Feminist Dad t-shirt. Of course.

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Dan and T saw Josh Ritter walking through the gardens and asked for a photo op. How cool is that??

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Pre-concert in the gardens.

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Tired children.


Things to Do - Project 52, Weeks 21 & 22

I'm still working my way through photos from the end of May. Anyways, most of my photos from week 21 and 22 are from the beach, but I took a few (not many) other photos throughout the two weeks.

Happy Monday!!

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(1) Chickens at Claude Moore Colonial Fair during their spring market fair.
(2) A friend came to stay with us for the weekend, so I asked the kids to clean the basement, which apparently exhausted T.
(3) F reading her book on the drive down to Nags Head, NC.
(4) T as Bill Gates for the 2nd grade wax museum night. We drove back from the beach in order to make the event and we were all a little exhausted.
(5) Sisters. I really wish we could make over our bedroom, but Coco likes to destroy blankets, so we're waiting awhile.


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