Things to Do - Interview the Kids (July 2017)

Once a year . . .

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P (AGE 10.5, Rising 5th grader)

FAVORITE COLOR - Mint green.
FAVORITE BOOK(S) - Anything by Raina Telegmeier.
THINGS YOU LIKE TO DO AT SCHOOL - Lunch with my friends and Ms. English.
FAVORITE SONG(S) - Don't Stop Believing, Back in Black, Chained to the Rhythm.
FAVORITE MOVIES - Classics like Legally Blond, Adventures in Babysitting, Can't Buy Me Love, & Pretty in Pink.
FAVORITE TV SHOWS - Gilmore Girls, the Goldbergs, Parks and Recreation.
ACTIVITIES/THINGS YOU LIKE TO DO - Painting, basketball, and hanging out with my friends.
WHAT FAMOUS PEOPLE WOULD YOU LIKE TO MEET (DEAD OR ALIVE)? - Amelia Earhart (I want to find out how she died); Katy Perry (I want to find out if she's actually mean); Taylor Swift (because she gives gifts to all her fans) and Audrey Hepburn (just because).
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP? - An artist and the US president.
WHO ARE YOUR BEST FRIENDS? - Paige, Laney, Allie, Nicola, and Mira.
FAVORITE THING TO DO AS A FAMILY? - Anything but hiking or backpacking; probably going on vacation.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO AFTER SCHOOL? - Hang out with my friends.
FAVORITE THINGS TO DO WITH F - Annoying her is always fun; TV marathons and board games.
FAVORITE THINGS TO DO WITH T - Annoy him; shoot his bow.
DREAM VACATION - Hawaii (at a fancy resort with a helicopter).
FAVORITE MUSEUM OR OUTING - The pool; Nats games; Get ice cream and go to movies.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS SUMMER? - Have fun eating gelato in Europe and going to the pool.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE MEMORIES FROM WINTER AND SPRING? - Xmas, the New Years party, our 4th grade overnight to Williamsburg, and the pool.

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T (AGE 8, Rising 3rd grader)

FAVORITE BOOK(S) - Goosebumps, Captain Underpants, the Notebook of Doom series, and Dragontails.
THINGS YOU LIKE TO DO AT SCHOOL - iPads, lunch, recess, and game day.
FAVORITE SONG(S) - S.O.B., 24K Magic, Getting Ready to Get Down.
FAVORITE FOOD(S) - Milk, cherry tomatoes, oreos, sandwiches.
FAVORITE MOVIES - Men in Black; The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
ACTIVITIES/THINGS YOU LIKE TO DO - Nerf guns and shooting my bow in the backyard.
WHAT FAMOUS PEOPLE WOULD YOU LIKE TO MEET (DEAD OR ALIVE)? - Bill Gates; Michael Jackson so he could teach me the moonwalk.
WHO ARE YOUR BEST FRIENDS? - Cole, Teo, Ian, Zakk, and Adam.
FAVORITE THING TO DO AS A FAMILY? - Go to Europe and adopt dogs.
FAVORITE PLACE TO GO AS A FAMILY? - Silver Diner and the beach.
FAVORITE THINGS TO DO WITH F - Annoy her, though I like that she makes us lunch.
DREAM VACATION - Hunting in Africa.
FAVORITE MUSEUM OR OUTING - Museum of Crime and Punishment, even though it no longer exists.
FAVORITE SEASON - Summer because of my birthday.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS SUMMER? - I want a new laptop; I'm excited for Europe.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE MEMORIES FROM WINTER AND SPRING? - Leaf piles with my sisters, pushing my sisters in the pool.

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F (AGE 11.5; Rising 6th grader)

FAVORITE COLOR - Any shade of blue.
FAVORITE BOOK(S) - There are so many. Wonder is still probably my favorite. And the Mr. Terupt series. Maybe Life of Pi, but the end still makes me a little mad.
THINGS YOU LIKE TO DO AT SCHOOL - Outdoor lab, cello and music makers, my teacher.
FAVORITE SONG(S) - Hand Clap ("if I was a baseball player, Handclap wold be my walk in song"), the Hamilton soundtrack.
FAVORITE FOOD(S) - Mashed potatoes or potatoes in any form. Trader Joe's cookies and cream ice cream.
FAVORITE MOVIES - La La Land, Karate Kid, Breakfast Club, really any Molly Ringwald movies.
FAVORITE TV SHOWS - Gilmore Girls.
ACTIVITIES/THINGS YOU LIKE TO DO - Playing music, basketball, swimming with friends.
WHAT FAMOUS PEOPLE WOULD YOU LIKE TO MEET (DEAD OR ALIVE)? - Barack Obama, Malala, Marie Curie, Simone Biles, Lauren Graham, Scott Patterson.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP? - A Supreme Court justice (just like RGB), author, lawyer, chemist, researcher.
WHO ARE YOUR BEST FRIENDS? - Mika, Avery, Alessandra, Natalia, Sophia, and Anya.
FAVORITE THING TO DO AS A FAMILY? - Travel, we bond a lot during travel.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO AFTER SCHOOL? - Depends on the day of the week.
FAVORITE THINGS TO DO WITH P - Tease her. I like to play catch and board games with her.
FAVORITE THINGS TO DO WITH T - He's so creative, yesterday we invented a game. I like to see what he comes up with.
DREAM VACATION - I think I've already done it, wait, no Australia.
FAVORITE MUSEUM OR OUTING - I loved MeowWolf (in Santa Fe) and City Museum (in St. Louis).
FAVORITE SEASON - Autumn. Did you know that Rory Gilmore's birthday is October 8th?
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS SUMMER? - Nerd camp (sleepaway camp at UVA) and Europe.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE MEMORIES FROM WINTER AND SPRING? - The outdoor lab, meeting Sophia and Avery, Xmas, the last day of elementary school, the beach house.


Things to Do - Random Links

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Happy weekend everyone!


* I found this article fascinating.

* 10 fun attractions off 1-81 (from Winchester to Staunton). Who's up for a VA road trip?

* Photos of dinnertime across the United States.

* Pancakes and a new baby. Seriously, how cute is this family?

* This street art is AMAZING (and funny).

* 1950s American vacations in Kodachrome.

* This!

* The 21 best movies and tv shows to stream when it's raining on vacation (totally excited to learn that HBO has Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead).

* I want this t-shirt. And speaking of T-shirts have you seen Spiderman homecoming? F wants all of Peter Parker's t-shirts.

* I'm thinking of buying myself a subscription to this cocktail box for back to school. Or maybe this one.

* Some of the most beautiful secret places in VA. The Devil's Bathtub looks AMAZING!

* The 150 greatest albums made by women. Do you agree?

* 13 writers long listed for the Booker prize.

* The Friends from College playlist = lots of nostalgia.


Things to Do - Project 52, Weeks 27 & 28

It's funny, when I think about week 27 all my memories center around working during the day and T coming into my office every 30 minutes to tell me he's bored. And P watching TV. And F calling from sleep away camp. But when I look at the photos I realize we did a ton of cool stuff that week.

Summer is tricky. You go from so little time with your kids to SO MUCH time with your kids. I find it hard to strike the right balance between structured and lazy days.

Luckily, for week 28 Dan's parents took the kids and their cousins to Smith Mountain Lake for a week. I thought I'd use this time to take photos for myself, still lifes and neighborhood shots. But instead I put the camera down. And I edited and exercised and drank cocktails at night with my husband. And life was so quiet. Turns out I needed a week to miss them and to find myself.

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(1) Backpacking in Shenandoah National Park.
(2) The view from Skyline Drive. A storm blew in about 30 minutes after we finished the hike back to the car. #lucky
(3) Watching the Universoul Circus at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival (love DC's free events!).
(4) The circus.
(5) Our neighbor leaves a container of bubble solution and wands in her yard, so kids walking by can play. How fun is that?
(6) Sharks at the National Geographic Museum.
(7) T and Dan reading before bed.
(8) Watching DC's 4th of July fireworks from Columbia Pike.
(9) The kids always make horrible trades and, thus, let Dan win Settlers of Catan, which infuriates me. After this game P said, "There's a point where I just wanted to end it and let dad win, so we'd still have time to watch a movie before bed." #disappointedmom
(10) Fireworks after our neighborhood's 1st annual BBQ battle.

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(1) Dan picked the kids up from Smith Mountain Lake and bought T this sweatshirt on the way home. Then he ran over to see his friends and they all were wearing camo sweatshirts too. Unplanned. Keep in mind it was 90 degrees that day. I guess he's found his people.


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.


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