Places to Go - Out & About, the Watercolor Version (Early Spring 2014)

Doesn't everything look better in watercolor?


Ziplining through the trees with P at the Adventure Park of Sandy Spring. She's now old enough (7.5) to do the green courses, crazy fun.


A Monday afternoon "date" with T at the Smithsonian National History Museum. We checked out insects and "Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation."

Speaking of the Smithsonian, did you read this Washington Post article on the T Rex that Got Away (the world's most complete T-Rex skeleton resides at the Field Museum in Chicago, after winning the $8.3 million bidding war)?


At the National History Museum we also visited the new interactive exhibit, Q?rius, (we had to find it for ourselves because the super bitchy woman at the information desk refused to tell me the location, saying it was only meant for teenagers).

Luckily, once we arrived Qr?ius had a ton of fun stuff that T loved (rocks under microscopes, drawers full of fossils and musical instruments, skulls, etc.) and a very welcoming staff.


Tuckahoe Playground
after preschool. Have you visited here yet? They have a HUGE new climbing structure that the kids couldn't get enough of, plus a cool multi-person swing. Click here to read The Meanest Mama's review.

(And, yes, that "kid" in the black leggings is me. I couldn't resist, kids can't claim all the fun).


Boots in the sand for a moms' weekend at Rehoboth Beach.


Followed by: Coronas, karaoke, and Cards Against Humanity (i.e. the perfect weekend away).



Things to Do - Cherish This Day & Random Links

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HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE!! Now click on over to Cherish This Day for lots of wonderfulness.


* I just signed up for this workshop and I CAN'T WAIT for it to start.

* The Teenage Glaze - wow, these are good.

* We've been out of diapers for awhile now, but if you're still in the market, Where the Watermelons Grow posted a great guide to going cloth free.

* Homemade funny face stamps. Genius.

* Tavi Gevinson is so cool.

* I want this book.

* I actually like GW's paintings.

* A homeless boxer's mansion - “Even though they're technically homeless, they don't feel homeless living as part of this encampment. It's a really unique place. I think it's especially interesting in the context of the housing shortage, the rising housing prices, and growing income inequality in the Bay Area. It's one of the last places where homeless people can go and feel somewhat self-reliant and safe."

* I love all these movies.

* Dinner party decorations (or lack thereof) always stress me out. But this looks simple, manageable, and so so cute.



Things to Do - Around the Neighborhood (Early Spring 2014)

Sometimes you just need a giant photo dump, so here goes:

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We're never quite sure who walks who (though I'd put my money on the puppy).

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Inconclusive "science" experiments.

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T had such high hopes that his two best friends would get along. But when the bigger one tried to eat the smaller one, T learned that such things don't always work out.

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Have scooter will travel.

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Even without scooters, we always seem to move so fast.

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Sometimes it snow in spring, but at least (this time) school didn't close.

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So we made rice krispie treats.

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And ran around like monkeys.

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And relaxed on the couch.

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And waited for better weather.

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And better weather arrived.

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T was so excited for the sun that he spent an afternoon topless.

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Now, we spend our days at the playground.

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Or, sometimes, indoors in the sun.

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At night, T teaches Spacebear how to fly.

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Learning to fly is "tricky".

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Best friends became toothless.

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And swings needed to be swung.

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Some nights we stay at the playground until bedtime.

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While flowers bloom around us. Everywhere.

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And we try, always, to take it all in.


Things to Make - Potato Chip Cookies

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(Sorry, not the best photo, but at least you get the idea. Decadence pure and simple.)

We almost never have potato chips in the house. Not because I'm super healthy (ha!), but rather I can't resist them. Like a moth to a flame and all that. Seriously, I practically inhale them. But when I came across this recipe in The Chew: What's for Dinner?: 100 Easy Recipes for Every Night of the Week
(previously reviewed here), I figured that if we're going to bake cookies, we might as well go for serious decadence.

The cake batter alone is incredible. We. could. not. stop. eating.

Unfortunately, I used dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate to dip the cookies and the kids didn't like the taste of the finished product. So I had to eat them myself. See why I usually ban potato chips? Oh well, occasional indulgences are good for you, right?

POTATO CHIP COOKIES (slightly adapted from The Chew: What's for Dinner?: 100 Easy Recipes for Every Night of the Week)

* 1 cup butter (yes, 1 WHOLE CUP), softened
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1 1/4 cup crushed potato chips
* 1 tablespoon vanilla
* 2 cups flour
* I cup milk chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cream the butter and sugar with a mixer. Reduce speed to low and add 3/4 cup of potato chips. Mix. Add the vanilla and mix again. Add the flour until just combined - don't overmix.

3. Spoon small 1-inch balls of dough onto a lightly greased pan, spacing them 2 inches apart. Press flat.

4. Cook 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool.

5. Heat the chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring often. Dip each cookie into the melted chocolate, the roll the cookies in the remaining potato chips.


Things to Do - Thinkfun Games Review and GIVEAWAY!!

Our friends at Thinkfun gave us three of their new games to check out, all of which provided some much needed entertainment during thes cold days of sprinter (spring/winter).

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We keep this game on the kitchen table and throughout any given day you'll see some member of our family playing it. The premise is simple enough - you arrange the little frog "hoppers" as displayed on the game card (cards range from easy to "super hard"). You then hop frog over frog until (ideally) only one frog remains.

I use Hoppers as a nice, short stress reliever during the day (probably because, sometimes, I need to win something). The kids enjoy it too, as even the most challenging puzzles becomes doable once you figure out your previous mistakes. Plus, I love the game's self-contained carrying case - making it perfect for car trips.


Last Letter

The girls are obsessed with this multi-player game (they often bring it out on playdates). First each player receives 5 cards. In the center, a "starting" card is displayed, someone calls out one of the objects or actions on the card and then everyone must find on one of their own cards an object or action whose name starts with the last letter of the previous named word. So if someone yells skateboarder, the next thing named must start with R. The first player to discard all of their cards wins.

I like that the cards contain funny cartoons full of crazy scenarios (all very different). Last Letter is a great before bed activity, as the gameplay moves along quickly. Plus, it helps with spelling skills (make sure to review words that begin with E because that silent e at the end of words comes up over and over again).


Square By Square

This game seems easy enough - you arrange the blocks (onto a contained game space) to duplicate one of the pictures displayed on the various cards. But, if you ask me, even the easy ones are somewhat challenging (I always end up with one block that doesn't fit). Oh well, frustration can be good. And it keeps the kids entertained while I make dinner (plus, once you can't take it anymore, the back of each card details the puzzle's solution).

Thinkfun will give away one of their new release games to a lucky reader, you can choose from the three games reviewed above or any of the other wonderful selections detailed here. Just enter below to win!

[NOTE - You can enter through the giveaway gadget at the bottom of this post OR by commenting to this post, but if you comment, please leave an email in the body of the message so I can get in touch with you. Thanks!]

Happy Monday everyone!!

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