Monthly Archives: August 2015

Boring Advice

We all get advice. Some advice resonates deeply, you take the advice to heart and apply it immediately. Other times you know the advice is not for you and completely ignore it. Then there is the advice that you get and think “well that’s obvious, its good advice but I already know it and apply it to my life.” You think you can write it off, but somewhere deep in your subconscious it sticks with you.

Then days, months or years later you look back, reflect and realize it was much better advice than you realized and you really didn’t apply it to your life as you thought you had.

This realization, that I had missed some good advice, happened to me this summer.

Before telling you about the sage advice I completely missed, let me tell you about my friend Tiffany. Tiffany was, and continues to be, one of my guides in parenthood. We met at preschool her youngest is the same age as my oldest and are best buds. Whatever parenting issues I am just starting to go through she has already been through. Our outlooks on life and parenting are similar.

So, when our boys were 3 and just finishing their first year of preschool,  we were talking about our summer plans. She told me her plan for the summer was to have a boring summer. She planned on going to the pool, going on vacation for a week to visit family and maybe doing a few things around town.

I thought this sounded great and just how summer should be. I told her our plan for the summer was going to be pretty low key as well. I then proceeded to tell her my plan for making it a “low key summer.”  I told her of the road trips I had set up to visit friends and family. I shared the list of every event being offered at every library and museum in a 30 mile radius and the corresponding playground, park or splash pad we would visit after each event. I had activities planned for hanging out at the house and what I would do if my kid said he was bored.

It was going to be the best summer, completely relaxed and just fun – yes my kids were 1 and 3 at the time and yes I was a completely crazy, still relatively new mom. And no it was not a relaxing summer

Fast forward seven years and I finally get it. Each year my summer planning craziness has lightened and I don’t think it can get any lighter than this year.

The kids each did one camp and that was it.

We have spent a lot of time at the pool. I don’t pack a giant pool bag,  everyone grabs a few snacks and a towel. I grab my book and out the door we go.

I don’t make plans days ahead, or even the night ahead. If we wake up and feel like an outing we just go.

I planned one road trip to visit friends and family. Even on this trip we have no plans beyond where we are staying and some possible ideas of things we might like to do.

Getting to a boring summer has been hard, for all of us. It hasn’t always been idyllic there has been crying, whining and fighting and I probably wouldn’t invite you in my house because it is such a disaster.

The kids still wake up in the morning and ask what they have to do today. I tell them we can do whatever we want and they look at me with slight confusion.

There has been more fighting as they try and figure out what to do when mom isn’t entertaining them every minute of the day. But they have discovered some games in the game closest they never knew they had and have had some great games together just the three of them.

There has been more screen time than I am happy with, but I am finding they do get bored with screens after a while and will eventually turn them off without being told. Although if you were to be a fly on the wall in my house today, you might think they never get off the couch and Descendants just runs in a loop on the TV.

In our third week of boredom we are slowly getting into a good rhythm. It has been hard, but worth it.

I hope your summer has been and continues to be as boring as ours!

The Beach

The National Building Museum is a cool hidden gem in Washington DC. It is only 4 blocks from the Mall, tucked in over by Chinatown, but not always on the usual tourist path. The building is beautiful, the exhibits are always interesting, and change on a regular basis plus there are great hands on activities for kids. These things alone make the Building Museum a must do for locals and tourists anytime of year, but each summer the museum takes things up a notch by installing a summer themed exhibit in the main hall.

First there was the”building the Future” themed miniature golf course. Last year was The BIG maze080414 (1)

And this year they brought us the BEACH, which in my opinion, is the best exhibit yet.072815 (1)

The beach is a 10,000 square foot “ocean” filled with nearly one million translucent balls – so basically a giant ball pit. Visitors can sit on the 50′ wide shoreline or dangle their feet off the pier into the water.

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You can wade in slowly from the shore or just jump right in. At its deepest it is 3 feet and there is a small island in the middle. I experienced a slight panic when I first jumped in and found myself sinking with every movement. Wading around is definitely a little challenging and a helping hand is sometimes needed, but the mood at the BEACH is light and fun and people were always willing to lend a hand if needed.

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For planning purposes:

  • take the metro – parking can be tricky and expensive – just hop off at Judiciary square.
  • tickets to the BEACH are on a first come first serve basis. From the time we walked in to the museum it took about 45 minutes to get in to the actual beach area. I have heard of others waiting for a couple hours.
  • weekdays are obviously the best time to go, but if you can’t get there during the week get there early on the weekend. They open at 10am Monday thru Saturday and at 11am on Sunday
  • there is a concession stand, run by Union Kitchen, that serves, delicious but not necessarily typical snacks.
  • tickets are $16 for adults and $13 for kids
  • be sure to check out their website for more information – The BEACH

If you are a local, or planning on being in the DC area, add this to your summer bucket list. You won’t have to empty sand from your shoes before getting in the car and it is sure to bring a smile to your face.

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The exhibit is only open until September 7, so don’t procrastinate!

Dutch Pancake

It’s summer. It’s hot and humid and the last thing I want to do is go in the kitchen and fix dinner, yet these three little people – and one big person – want food, and they want it every night!

On top of that my counters are filled with veggies that need to be used up.

Enter the Dutch Pancake, my favorite summer go to meal. A cross between a crepe and a popover this perfect little dish can be either sweet or savory. It puffs up when baked, making it look impressive and as if I spent hours in the kitchen. Plus it can be topped with almost anything, making it super versatile.dutch pancake

All you need is a cast iron skillet and a few basic ingredients and you are ready to go.skillet

You can find a ton of recipes, they are all about the same. Some have sugar, some don’t. Some are a little more eggy and some are more doughy.

They are all good.

This has been my basic, go to savory recipe this summer. It’s on the eggy side -think quiche meets crepe – and can stand up to some yummy fillings.

I like adding some extra yumminess to the batter. Ham and cheddar cheese is the favorite in my family, but they will also go for a little sausage. I have also been know to sneak in some leeks as well, which I love but gets mixed reviews with the ten and under crowd. It is also great loaded up with herbs

To serve I top it with a variety of vegetables. Again, my family likes to keep it basic and sauteed zucchini and tomatoes is the favorite. But experiment and see what works for your gang.veggies

Spinach, asparagus, eggplant – if it comes from your garden, or the produce section, it will probably work.

Cheese options are just as endless – goat, cheddar, and monterey are sure bets in my house, but if you can work in something more flavorful go for it.

Savory Dutch Pancake

3 tablespoons butter
4 eggs
½ cup flour
½ cup milk
¼ cup cheese
¼ cup chopped ham

Preheat oven to 350℉
In a 12” skillet, over medium heat, melt butter. In a medium bowl whisk eggs, milk and flour together until combined. Gently fold in cheese and ham. Pour mixture into skillet, place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until top puffs and is a light golden brown.

To serve, cut into six wedges, and top each wedge with vegetable mixture.

Printer ready