Saturday, September 25, 2010

National Book Festival 2010

The National Book Festival took place today, on the Mall in D.C. This is our fifth year going to the festival (out of 10 years total) and it seems to get bigger and better each year. I love listening to authors talking about their craft and their process, and hearing them read their works. The boys love it as well, and I think it's important for them to see the authors they read and love. I've gotten books autographed before, and I did take one today to get autographed, but I really should take more. It's very easy to get an autograph, and it's so neat to have that in your book collection. Here are our favorites from today:

{Shot of the festival, looking towards the Washington Monument.}

{Suzanne Collins, author of the hugely popular Hunger Games trilogy. Kohler loves these books.}

{Ree Drummond, blogger and cookbook author, known as Pioneer Woman.}

{My absolute favorite, Ken Follett. I started reading his books in high school and have read every one of them.
I got his autograph.}

{I'm really looking forward to his new trilogy, and loved hearing him speak about it.}

{Timothy Egan, author of The Worst Hard Time, a non-fiction historical book that I loved.}

{Micheal Buckley, new author, who was hugely entertaining to listen to.}

{Kieran's favorite, Jeff Smith, author of the Bone comic books.}

{He showed how he draws his characters and comes up with ideas.}

{He was great to listen to, and hopefully inspiring to Kieran!}

{We hadn't eaten all day, so once we heard the last speaker, we headed to Chinatown.}

{Right to our favorite fresh noodle and dumpling restaurant, Chinatown Express.}

{Here are the chefs making noodles in the front window.}

{Our second time to eat here after going to the book festival!}

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Sometimes, I imagine my own life as a series of snapshots taken by some omniscient artist who is just keeping track--not interfering or saying anything, just capturing the moment for me to look back at it again later. . . This is the way it is, the photograph says, and I nod my head in appreciation. The power of art is in that nod of appreciation, though sometimes I puzzle nothing out, and the nod is more a shrug. No, I do not understand this one, but I see it. I take it in. I will think about it. If I sit with this image long enough, this story, I have the hope of understanding something I did not understand before. And that, too, is art, the best art.

--Dorothy Allison from "This is Our World"

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Back to School Shopping

Because there are no girls in our family, trips to the mall are pretty rare. When the boys were younger, we'd usually only make it once a year, for the annual santa photo. Now that they're older, while they still aren't interested in clothes shopping, there are other stores at the mall that they love to visit, namely the Apple store. Game Stop is also a draw, and of course the food court!

So with these stores as a bribe, I was able to get them to the mall for a back to school shopping trip. Don't get me wrong, the boys like to look good, and like nice clothing, they just don't always appreciate shopping for them!

First stop was to look for church clothes for the boys. This should do!

We love American Eagle. Good prices, and great clothes!

Loved this shirt, but thought some of the details looked a bit feminine.

Love the displays!

This is actually Kaden's favorite store for clothing.

Next up, the boys needed new shoes. Didn't find anything we liked though.

Some of our purchases: a new backpack from North Face, items from Urban Outfitters, and an
Abercrombie shirt for Kieran.

One of our favorite stops: Haagen-Dazs! Love the dulche de leche milkshakes.

I love this sofa from Pottery Barn. I think I might in fact need it!

We always need to stop at the Lego store. Kieran picked out a cup of mixed pieces for himself.

There's a huge Barnes and Noble here, and we always browse for at least an hour, usually in this same spot!

Next to last stop of the day, the food court! Kieran loves Five Guys, while the rest of us chose chicken kebabs and beef bulgogi. We ended the day seeing Inception in IMAX at the theater here. Loved it!

Good Eats

We joined a different CSA this summer, and it's been wonderful! This particular CSA allows you to choose your own produce each week, within set guidelines. What I've liked about our CSA in the past is how it pushes my out of my produce comfort zone each week, forcing me to use vegetables I wouldn't normally buy. So this new format is even better because I'm forced to get a set amount of veggies, but I have choices! And the produce has been amazing. Several different varieties of each veggie, tons of fruit, and the melons! Yum! Most of the produce is organic, and it's all local, so it's good all around!

{several varieties of eggplant. I've tried the long, skinny ones, and the white ones.}

{look at all the tomatoes! I picked a ton of them and made spaghetti sauce for the freezer.}

{we've feasted on corn on the cob each week. so sweet!}

{this was at a farmer's market in West Virginia. orange tomatoes!}

{i'm so tempted to buy a bushel and try canning them.}

{you can never have too many tomatoes!}

If you're interested in the CSA we belong to, check out Norman's Farm Market. We joined for all three seasons, spring, summer, and fall.

Date Night!

We only had two out of three boys home with us for the weekend, so we took advantage of that, and went out for dinner and a movie. I chose the Avalon Theater in Chevy Chase as I love the area around it (and we had free tickets we had won at a school auction!).

Here are some snippets of our evening out.
We got a parking spot right out front! Love the trees here.

Magruder's grocery store. A fixture in DC, known for their great prices!

A close-up of the produce. Beautiful!

Walking to dinner.

Looking down Connecticut Ave. Love the outdoor seating and dogs! It was a beautiful evening out.

Bread and Chocolate cafe. Yum! Thought we might stop for something sweet after dinner.

We ate dinner at Arucola, one of our faves. The doors were wide open, and the patio was full!

My hot date!

I know it's a no-no, but we can't keep off our iPhones, even on a date!

We started with salads. His was a watercress salad, mine was endive with a fig dressing. A little sweet and very yummy!

Then we ordered two pizzas, to share. Mine was fresh buffalo mozerella (wild mushrooms on his side), his was pesto, potato. Mine was better.

Dinner's over, ready for our movie at the Avalon: Eat, Pray, Love.

But first, a little ice-cream! Salted caramel for me, heath-pecan for him. Yum!

Monday, September 6, 2010

25 Things We Did This Summer

1. Celebrated 16 years of marriage.
2. Visited the Air & Space Museum.
3. Went to Bengie's for a drive-in movie.
4. Had several bad storms which resulted in power loss and a mass freezer clean-out!
5. Made several trips to the mall, always stopping at the food court and Apple store.
6. Back to school shopping.
7. Read a couple books (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo & A Woman in Berlin for me, 39 Clues for Kieran, and the Hunger Games trilogy for Kohler and Kaden).
8. Joined a CSA and picked up fresh veggies and fruit weekly.
9. Had a date night for Stoehr's birthday.
10. Made All-Stars! All three boys swam relay, and the older two also made individuals.
11. Were the highest point earners in all their age groups.
12. Graduated from 8th grade.
13. Began 5th grade.
14. Got over our fear of roller coasters.
15. Fourth annual camping trip to Assateague Island.
16. Swam and looked for fossils at Shark Tooth beach.
17. Swam . . .
18. and swam . . .
19. and swam some more!
20. Vacationed in Yosemite.
21. Went to a couple of Orioles games.
22. Celebrated the fourth with good friends and neighbors.
23. Re-decorated Kieran's bedroom.
24. Got braces.
25. Made zones!

1. 16 years today!, 2. air & space museum, 3. drive-in movie night, 4. power's out: clean out the freezer!, 5. at the mall, 6. back to school shopping sustenance, 7. summer reading, 8. farmer's market, 9. date night, 10. My All-Stars :), 11. our All-Stars!, 12. last day of 8th grade, 13. first day of school!, 14. Hershey coaster, 15. assateague camping, 16. shark teeth beach, 17. swim team: Kohler, 18. swim team: Kaden, 19. swim team: Kieran, 20. family photo!, 21. june 8b, 22. july 4a, 23. july 13, 24. july 29, 25. aug 14