Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Easy Honey Dijon Skillet Chicken + 30 Days of Dinner!!

I've been in a real rut with chicken. I try to work it in the menu several times a week, but I feel like I just keep falling back on the same several recipes or get stuck making a more complicated recipe just to get more flavor. But this Easy Honey Dijon Skillet Chicken is super delicious, quick for a weeknight meal, and full of fall flavors. Give it a try if you're looking for a new weeknight headliner!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ragnar Kjartansson at the Hirshhorn Museum

It's no secret that the Hirshhorn Museum is one of my most favorite museums in DC. And we've seen some seriously cool exhibits move through there (you can find lots of our past visits here). But the Ragnar Kjartansson exhibit was truly like nothing we've ever seen. It was so interactive and, just, alive—we were all completely mesmerized. I had heard plenty about the "gold lady" ahead of time and a few whisperings of another cool musical installation, but I wasn't really prepared for the whole experience. I knew it was going to be a lot of performance art, but knowing that and experiencing it are two totally different things.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Giving Back Advent Calendar

I love, love the holiday season. But every year I feel like I spend inordinate amounts of time making sure our family focuses on the real meaning of the holidays and not just the piles of presents rolling in. We celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas in our home, so it's no small feat. The kids are always asking me for an Advent Calendar, but I've resisted. This year, I decided to try something different: a Giving Back Advent Calendar. Head over to Honest to Nod to see what I put together! 

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Friday Five!!

Although I think it's vitally important to continue addressing all of the serious things going on in our country right now, I am really looking forward to the holidays bringing a little extra joy and comfort around our house. Believe me, our family feels much of the negativity directly and continues to feel for those experiencing other difficulties that we don't too. But man I need something good to come along soon. And we did work in a few good things this week too -- check 'em out. 

Reading -- we are loving this sequel to Mr. Lemoncello's Library.

Making -- did you catch our DIY Gratefulness Banner? Free download and a good activity to keep kids busy while you cook! 

Wanting -- ummmmm, I absolutely need this Jonathan Adler gold marble dinnerware for Thanksgiving. 

Playing -- Pass the Pigs is one of my favorite childhood games and I love that Cam loves it now too. 

Cooking -- Half-baked Harvest's Greek Lamb Souvlaki Plates were out of this world. The kids both asked for them as leftovers the next night. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

2017 Holiday Gift Guide for the Kiddos: 70+ Ideas of Things to Play and Read

The holiday catalogs have started arriving in droves and Black Friday is just around the corner! That means it's time to start thinking about holiday presents, but I thought I'd try something different for this year's Holiday Gift Guide. I love doing categories of presents (like last year's gift guide for the Little Art + Crafter, Young Builder, Starting Scientist, Beginning Traveler, and Budding Designer), but I thought it would be fun to re-group all of our Friday Five favorites of what we've been playing and reading for this year's guide. They are all tried, tested, and approved by Kane and Cam (and me). I simply listed them in the order we played or read them this year. So without further adieu, here's what we've loved from this year that we think would make perfect holiday gifts for your kiddos!

1. White Mountain puzzles 
2. LEGO Architecture Studio
3. Timeline Historical Events card game
4. Brain Quest cards
5. Twister 
6. Robot Turtles 
7. Rat-a-Tat Cat 
8. Zeus on the Loose 
9. Sushi Go 
10. Agricola 
11. Cinderella Uno 
12. Dragonwood
13. Zeus on the Loose 
14. Spy Gear 
15. Outfoxed
16. Clue 
17. Baba Yaga
18. Top Trumps Harry Potter
19. Don't Be Greedy 
20. Pokemon Trading Cards
21. Longhorn
22. Cranium Brain Breaks 
23. Magnatiles 
24. Sorry 
25. Just Desserts 
26. Enchanted Forest 
27. Set
28. Rush Hour 
29. Grimm's Wooden Mandala 

1. Rick Riordan's Magnus Chase series 
2. Seven Wonders series 
3. The Sherlock Files series 
4. The Secrets of Droon series
5. Septimus Heap series 
6. Blue Balliet's Hold Fast 
7. Blue Ballet's Pieces and Players
8. A to Z Mysteries series 
9. The Island of Dr. Libris 
10. Treasure Hunters series 
11. Benjamin Franklin Huge Pain in My ...
12. Lunch Money
13. The Boys in the Boat (Young Readers)
14. Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes
15. A Week in the Woods 
16. The Heartbreak Messenger 
17. Sasek Classics 
18. Magic Treehouse series 
19. The Worst Class Trip Ever 
20. Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales series 
21. Brick Fairy Tales + Greek Myths
22. Lunch Lady series
23. Enchanted Glass 
24. Mr. Chickees Funny Money
25. The Call of the Wild 
26. A Street Through Time
27. The Chronicles of Narnia 
28. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library
29. The Unwanteds 
30. Treasure Island
31. I Funny series
32. Travels with Gannon and Wyatt series
33. Phillipa Fisher and the Fairy Godsister
34. How to Catch a Bogle 
35. The School Story
36. The Gutsy Girl 
37. Woods Runner 
38. Cam Jansen series 
39. House of Robots series 
40. Inkspell 
41. The Great Shelby Holmes
42. Frank Einstein series 
43. Bad Kitty series

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

DIY Thanksgiving Gratefulness Banner

Apparently this is just the week where we're going to pop up everywhere else around the interwebs! But I am really excited to share this particular project because I am really trying this holiday season to keep our kids focused on being grateful, spreading kindness, and helping out. So I made a printable Thanksgiving Gratefulness Banner over at International Arrivals' blog that you can download for free! We used the International Arrivals awesome Magic Puffy Pens to color in the graphic black and white pennant and write our own messages of gratefulness to add on each year. Share the love!

Monday, November 14, 2016

DIY Rainbow Hair Chalk

Cam is always after me to color her hair and I'm all for it. But I know well how it feels to take a leap with hair color and wake up the next morning with regret, so I have stayed away from permanent color with her. She finds hair clips annoying though so we decided to try out some bright hair chalk and LOVED it. Head over to Honest to Nod to see how we did it! 

p.s. I might have also tried to relive my own hot fuchsia hair days and colored a few of my own strands. My 21-year-old self sported a full head of pink curls with no problem, but my current self was glad it washed out the next morning.

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Friday Five!

For a whole variety of reasons, this week has just kind of been the worst. So, sorry for the lack of posts. In between drinking lots of wine and marathon CNN sessions, this is what else we did.

(FTR, the kids did not have any wine, but as this Onion article suggests, maybe I should have shared.)

Wanting -- I'm pretty sure our grocery delivery service thinks I have a La Croix addiction. Oh wait, I do.

Reading -- we are totally obsessed with the amazing podcast The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel. It's part Goonies, part Stranger Things, and completely hooked all of us. I love that kids are the actors and it is just really well produced. We binged the past episodes and are now wringing our hands waiting for next week's episode. Highly, HIGHLY recommend.

Making -- Kane has been studying bar graphs in school and he's obsessed. I dug out a pad of graph paper this week and our fave International Arrivals double-ended markers and he graphed pretty much everything that was in his room.

Cooking -- I knew we'd be glued to the TV on Tuesday for election coverage so I made this crockpot beef chili (and easy homemade soft pretzels) so that I wouldn't have to cook in the evening. I'm not sure what it is in particular about this recipe, but everyone declared it the best chili I'd made this year. I'll take that.

Playing -- I constantly feel like the kids are growing up overnight, so I love when they pull out "baby toys" to play with. Cam has totally graduated to LEGOs, but for some reason played with this old Duplo set for a whole afternoon this week.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

5 Tips to Get Kids Moving!

Is your whole fam feeling a little sluggish today? I'm right there with you. Fortunately I put together my favorite tips for keeping kids active and am sharing it over on the Fitcene blog today. For those of you not in the know, Fitcene is a community fitness movement located in Washington, DC and is a great source of fitness and wellness info for women no matter where you live. Check it out!

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Friday Five!

Did everyone have a great Halloween!? We had such a fun day filled with school parades, parties, and a great big group of us trick-or-treating. The kids had quite the haul this year, but I head to bed every night hoping that the candy bowl grows feet overnight and hits the road. Measures must be taken soon. Besides recovering from sugar shock, here's what else has been keeping us busy this week!

Playing -- I had an awesome wooden mosaic when I was young and I don't know for sure, but I suspect it was made by Grimm's because the colors were so unusual and I've only seen similar natural dyes put out by Grimm's. Cam has this large mandala and loves taking it apart, building 3-D scenes, and then rebuilding it as mosaic patterns. Always a good bet when she needs some down time, like recovering from Halloween.

Reading -- Kane started the Bad Kitty series this week and has been loving it. And our obsession with podcasts continues (especially because our new car doesn't have a CD player so we're checking out new free audiobook options) with The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd, which is sort of like listening to an evil carton genius battle his nemesis while learning about history in the process. The podcasts are on the shorter side (8-9 minutes) so we have to listen to a few on the way to school, but both kids are enjoying it.

Making -- did you spot the DIY Wooden Necklaces we did for International Arrivals this week? SO bright and fun.

Cooking -- I almost always forget to marinate flank steak ahead of time, but this Simple Sicilian-Style Grilled Steak only needs an hour to get the job done. Perfect for busy weeknights, plus it's DELICIOUS.

Wanting -- I haven't had a pair of UGGs for a few years -- I have a love/hate relationship with them. But I always miss how easy they are to throw on and off. They've stepped up their game recently with a few more stylish options and I think this pseudo-moto pair might do the trick this season.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

DIY Wooden Bead Necklaces

Cam and I made these bright wooden bead necklaces using International Arrivals' awesome Neon Chalkables Liquid Chalk Markers this week. Head over to the IA blog to see how we put these bright beauties together! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Fall Cardigan Must Haves

Right around now, when the weather actually starts to get cold, I start itching to get the kids new clothes. But since I already bought their fall clothes back before school started, they really don't need anything new. I do like adding an extra layer and changing up what they've got by adding in a few new cardigans though. For both of them. Cardigans are such a great way to add a fun print or color to an outfit and Kane in particular loves to feel like he's "dressing up" without wearing real fancy clothes to school that are sure to get ruined. Here are a few I'm eyeing for each of them ....

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