Places to Go (Vacation) - Camping in November at Sky Meadows State Park (Delaplane, VA)

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Happy Monday!! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving holiday! We spent the weekend with Dan's family - eating SO MUCH food and then visiting the Vermeer exhibit at the National Gallery of Art and Kingdom of Colors at Artechouse. As far as art goes, we couldn't have had two more different experiences in one day - but I really enjoyed both.

The photos are from the weekend before last - when we spent Friday night camping at Sky Meadows State Park. We had hoped to see the meteor shower, but the light pollution was worst than anticipated (plus, we went to sleep rather early). Sky Meadows is a walk-in campground - the sites are about 1 mile from the parking lot. The hike/walk is easy, but it felt a little surreal to arrive at our campsite in the dark. As did hiking in with P as the light slowly faded away around us.

On the upside - we were thrilled to camp without bugs, but turns out ticks last longer than expected - both dogs found a few. So it goes. The night was COLD, but all in all the experience was pretty amazing (I heard owls all night) and I'm hoping we'll go again next year.

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

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Happy Friday everyone!! Last weekend we rented a little cottage in the woods outside Meadows of Dan, VA and, if you ask me, it was the perfect family get away. A fireplace. Family boardgames. HGTV. Naps. Homemade cocktails. Walking through the forest with the dogs (no leashes!). A campfire at night.

If you ask the kids, they may say, "um, I'm not sure why we had to drive that far to not really do anything."

So goes my life. I try.

If you have a chance, click here to check out this week's awesome post on 5 Hours 'Til Bedtime.


* 2016's best installation art. Makes me want to travel.

* These "cozy" books sound perfect for winter!

* Putting a face to a comment - the new online crusaders.

* I kind of want to try introvert soap.

* The Adams' Family had a pink living room (who knew?).

* These movie posters are gorgeous.

* I want this calendar.


Things to Do - Project 52, Weeks 39 & 40

These photos are from the last week of September/first week of October. It's sort of fun to look back a month later and see all the moments I forgot about. I feel like I've spent the last two months away at photoshoots and glued to my computer editing (and the kids keep reminding me that I'm never around anymore), but I know I've done other things besides work, and here's the proof. Parenting is hard.

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(1) T became a little obsessed with Halloween stores. So we spent a lot of time in them.
(2) I love when the kids do homework in my office while I edit.
(3) Location scouting in Clifton, VA with P and her friends. These three have known each other since preschool.
(4) I love watching all the kids and their friends walk/ride to school together in the morning.
(5) Location scouting with T. "Can I bring a gun?" "Um, sure."
(6) Party City with T and a friend.
(7) All the middle school kids seem iphone obsessed. It's driving me a little crazy.
(8) Location scouting with T. Love that golden light.
(9) The "gang" before school.
(10) Our porch. T wanted to "go big" on Halloween this year. But I didn't quite have it in me. So we settled for a zombie baby.

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(1) The floor of T's room.
(2) Apple picking.
(3) Dog walking.
(4) Another apple picking shot (the orchard was crazy crowded, but we manged to find pockets of quiet).
(5) T's not really into video games. Usually I think this is a good thing. But when he comes up with games like this, video games don't seem that bad anymore.
(6) One last apple picking shot.


Places to Go (Vacation) - Running Through Autumn at Storm King Scultpure Park (Cornwall, NY)

A few weeks ago I binge-watched the second season of Master of None. In one of the last episodes, the main character and a friend take an autumn daytrip to Storm King Art Center, which is about 1 hour north of NYC. I'd never heard of Storm King before, but I was smitten.

Unfortunately, October is the peak of my busy season so I didn't think we could make our own trip. Then I found out the kids had a few days off school and everything fell into place. (Plus, let's be honest - I love a roadtrip).

We ended up spending two days at Storm King (the park is REALLY big) and on the second day my best friend and her family managed to join us (and then we drove back to Long Island to hang with them).

Watching all the kids play/run/explore together was pretty incredible. Especially with scenery like this!






















Things to Eat - 9 Week Meal Plan (September - October 2017)

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As far as dinner goes, things have changed A LOT this fall.

F has loved cooking for awhile now, but up until this fall she concentrated on desserts. So we decided to try the meal-delivery service Plated and ask F to cook dinner two nights a week (I picked Plated because it appeared to have the largest recipe selection, but we're up for trying others as well).

Since she's the chef, F chooses the entrees and then when she comes home from school she arranges all the ingredients, references the recipe card, and cooks us an AMAZING feast. We're working on making P and T help her (though F often doesn't want their help).

Am I am so so happy.

Plus, Dan shot his first deer of the season and has made A LOT of incredible venison recipes. So so good!

Basically, I rarely cook at all anymore - which I'm totally okay with. Happy autumn!


MONDAY - Labor Day BBQ at a neighbor's.

TUESDAY - Black bean chilaquile (recipe here). When the kids were little they didn't like this that much, but now they request it regularly, which makes me so happy.

WEDNESDAY - Hot dogs and chicken sausage with brussels sprout/endive salad (the salad is from this book, super easy and so so good).

THURSDAY - Dinner out before Depeche Mode.

FRIDAY - Pizza at the back to school picnic.

SATURDAY - I have a photoshoot, Dan makes the kids dinner.

SUNDAY - Date night out at BrickHaus (the new beer garden on Columbia Pike). The kids eat mac and cheese.


MONDAY - Bacon, corn, and parmesan pasta (via Smitten Kitchen's blog).

TUESDAY - Brussels spout salad (via this book) and TJ's frozen lamb chops.

WEDNESDAY - Friends for dinner - veggie tacos two ways - corn and cauliflower/ black bean.

THURSDAY - Carry out from Tortas Y Tacos La Chiquita (the new taco place on Columbia Pike). The food here is crazy good, we can't get enough.

FRIDAY - Dan makes venison medallions with garlic bread.

SATURDAY - Dinner at our friend's 40th birthday party.

SUNDAY - Maggie's pasta (recipe here).


WEEK 3 - I have dental surgery on Monday and ignore my family all week.

MONDAY - Plated - Salmon and Creamy Dill Sauce with Sautéed Kale and Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

TUESDAY - Plated - Seared Steak with Bell Pepper Panzanella.

WEDNESDAY - Dinner out with Shannon (Farmers and Fishers), Dan makes pasta for the kids.

THURSDAY - Dan make dinner.

FRIDAY - Pizza at the neighbor's happy hour.

SATURDAY - We eat dinner at William Jeffrey's after Aasif Mandvi's comedy show at the Cinema Drafthouse. F makes pizza at home.

SUNDAY - Dan planned a huge venison feast, but the garbage disposal broke and he has to spend all day fixing it - so carry out from Tortas Y Tacos La Chiquita.



MONDAY - Dan's venison feast.

TUESDAY - Plated - Brown Butter Orecchiette with Spicy Sausage and Peas.

WEDNESDAY - Plated - Salmon Burgers with Chive Aioli and Mâche.

THURSDAY - Back to school night - I leave out apps for the kids.

FRIDAY - Friends for dinner - Dan makes venison steaks (yum!).

SATURDAY - Dinner at the wedding I'm photographing.

SUNDAY - I have a photoshoot and Dan has a Nationals' Game, so we order Ledos pizza for the kids.



MONDAY - Plated - Cuban Beef Bowls with Mojo Sauce and Avocado-Pineapple Salsa.

TUESDAY - Plated - Chop Steak with Crispy Brussels Sprout Home Fries and Herb Compound Butter.

WEDNESDAY - I FINALLY MAKE DINNER!! Brussels sprout salad (via this book) and pasta with tomatoes and sausage.

THURSDAY - Family dinner at Politics and Prose.

FRIDAY - Dan makes dinner for him and the kids; I eat at the wedding I'm photographing.

SATURDAY - Dan and the kids in Richmond; I eat at the wedding I'm photographing.

SUNDAY - Family at the neighborhood Ethiopian restaurant (I've been craving Ethiopian all week).



MONDAY - Dan makes a venison feast for F's birthday.

TUESDAY - Plated - Crispy Flounder with Spinach Orzo and Tomato-Olive Tapenade.

WEDNESDAY - Plated - Meatball Parm Heroes with Fire-Roasted Tomato Sauce and Charred Broccoli .

THURSDAY - Black bean chilaquile (recipe here).

FRIDAY - Breakfast for dinner - pancakes and bacon.

SATURDAY - Order pizza after T's paintball party (yes, I know his birthday was in June, but sometimes it takes awhile to get a birthday party together).

SUNDAY - I have a photoshoot, Dan makes orzo with pesto.


MONDAY - Plated - Baked Pennewith Cauliflower Cream Sauce, Spinach, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes.

TUESDAY - Plated - Seared Steakwith Blistered Shishito Pepper Salsa and Smashed Potatoes.

WEDNESDAY - Nachos for dinner with black beans, cucumbers, and tomatoes (yum!).

THURSDAY - Trader Joe's lamb chops with broccoli salad (via this book).

FRIDAY - Order pizza after P's escape room birthday party.

SATURDAY - Dan makes dinner for him and the kids; I eat at the wedding I'm photographing.

SUNDAY - Make your own pizza.



MONDAY - Plated - Spicy Chicken Arrabbiata with Parmesan-Roasted Cauliflower.

TUESDAY - Plated - Carne Asada Sopes with Avocado-Corn Salsa and Refried Black Beans.

WEDENSDAY - Chili's restaurant for dinner outside Cornwall, NY.

THURSDAY - Pizza at Jenny's house (Long Island, NY).

FRIDAY - Dinner at the Anthem before the Head and the Heart concert (kids have pasta at home).

SATURDAY - Hobo snacks (italian sausage, red peppers, shrimp, and corn in aluminum foil) on the fire while we camp at Shenandoah River State Park (still one of my favorite places).

SUNDAY - Dan makes venison osso buco (so so good) with asparagus and garlic bread.



MONDAY - Plated - Cuban Beef Bowls with Mojo Sauce and Avocado-Pineapple Salsa.

TUESDAY - Pizza at the neighbors' before trick or treating.

WEDNESDAY - Friends over for dinner - Black bean chilaquile (recipe here) and beef tacos.

THURSDAY - Easy dinner of bacon, avocado, almond butter sandwiches after the kids' tennis and soccer practices.

FRIDAY - Dan is out of town, F is babysitting, and P is at a sleepover. So I take T and two friends to Silver Diner. We are, by far, the loudest group in the restaurant.

SATURDAY - I have a photo shoot, Dan and the kids eat at his brother's house. I make a sandwich.

SUNDAY - Dan makes pork chops and salad.


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

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Happy Friday everyone! Last week the kids and I drove to Storm King scultpure garden in NY (about an hour north of NYC) to see the fall colors and we had a blast. I'll post more photos next week. In the meantime, don't forget to check out this week's awesome on 5 Hours 'Til Bedtime.


* Explosure. Love these photos.

* 6 big fall books.

* Passivity.

* Family album - more amazing fine art photography involving children.

* Read this. ("What happens now? Honestly, I’m not sure what the best steps are. Is it to share loudly? “When we share, we unlock other women’s stories, and suddenly secrets don’t seem so necessary,” says Jenni Konner in “Our Voices Are Our Superpower.” Is it for men to speak up? Is it to raise good children? What else? There must be something else.")

* I want to try sheet plan chili.

* This road trip looks AMAZING!

* A secret to a happy marriage. Love this idea (and this couple).

* A few new awesome families are up on my professional blog - click here to check them out.

* I really want to see this new photography exhibit.

* Compelling portraits of people who abandoned civilization to live in the wilderness.


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