Hello Fall

It’s that time of year when the temperatures gets brisk, night falls upon us so much earlier than we like. The smell of pumpkin spice fills the air, leaves ranges from yellow to deeper yellow to red to even burnt orange.

Some call you autumn. Some call you fall but whatever you call it, it’s certainly here.

Now that it’s officially here. I’m a LITTLE excited I must admit…okay maybe more than a little. I want to see what this season has in store for my l family.

I’ve been checking out apple orchards and pumpkin farms and I’m excited. I’ve never been apple picking, never had apple donuts nor have I had apple cider.

You’re probably thinking, where have you been and how have you been surviving? My answer partly is cultural differences.

I grew up picking apples but never from an apple orchard. It usually wasn’t a big celebration either because picking apple was just a means to an end. Picking apples from a neighborhood tree was just something to do to kill time or grab a snack.

Last year was the first time I visited a pumpkin patch. This year I’m looking forward to going to an actual farm to pick my own pumpkin from a field.

Again, I grew up with my grandpa picking pumpkins from our backyard. Again no celebration as he was picking it for us to eat either for breakfast, lunch, or dinner

Another thing I’m looking forward to is our family photoshoot with a massive pile of leaves. I can hear the kids laughter as they throw leaves and play.

I’m ready.

Fall please be kind!

What are you most looking forward to this Fall?

What does Fall mean to you?

~TOODLES~
Stacey

Tudor Place & Historic Gardens (9.19.15)

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Knock-knock!
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They won’t open the door mommy
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We have to help the garden grow
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When we left home that foggy Saturday morning I had no idea we were off to Georgetown. I try not to research our adventures prior to our visits because I find the unexpected fun.

Tudor Place is part of historic Georgetown built back in the 19th century by a decedent of the nation’s original First Lady, Mary Washington.

The garden isn’t grandiose but it is very quiet and provides a bit of serenity here in the nation’s capitals. Gardens like these are my absolute favorite places to hang out and explore with my littles. I love laying out our blanket, kicking off our shoes and enjoying a snack. You know take a deep breath and just relax (which is practically impossible to do with three littles under three).

It is the end of summer so I imagine when the garden is in bloom it provides a more picturesque backdrop for a picnic or a stroll.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures from our Saturday morning in Georgetown.

Thanks for viewing. Happy Saturday!

~TOODLES~
Stacey

Fall Concert in the Park (9.26.15)

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Why is it the day you have an event scheduled is when everything and everyone comes to town?

We had a tennis clinic and hubby’s work picnic overlapping then heard about Drake, Wale, and Miguel performing in Washington DC for the first Landmark Music Festival. Ugh! So many options!! I know a good problem to have but I really wanted to do all three events.

Ultimately we chose the Landmark festival. Yes, we became THOSE people at the concert with three kids under three, out there waaay pass the kids bedtime. The tickets were free and they advertised a kids only zone so I figured my little ones would be able to have some fun too. I was expecting something that would give moms and dads a break such as bounce houses but was quickly dissapointed. They provided arts and crafts, music petting zoo, photo props and legos for the kids to play for a few hours.

While I was thankful for the activities provided I wished I had visited the other two activities prior to visiting the music festival.

I guedd you can’t have it all huh?

~TOODLES~
Stacey

Recipe:- Baked Poppers with Chorizo & Bacon

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We tried a recipe the other night 🙊

I’m not a fan of recipes. I hate measuring things. I feel like whatever I’m making need to look exactly like the recipe pictures or else it’s a failure.  So to avoid such failures I don’t cook with recipes.

I’m an old school type of girl when it comes to cooking. Think of your grandma (I was raised with mine) a little dash of this and that and at the end you lick your fingers or your bowl and smile.  That’s how I cook. A splash of this , that, and a whole lot of Old Bay.  Nothing tastes the same twice. I must admit sometimes I create something so good that I wish I had wrote it down but that’s the beauty of cooking. Right? Trying to create the masterpiece again and again.

Anyway we decided to try this
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Poppers w/ Chorizo & Bacon Recipe

and LOVED it.  It is a very easy recipe. Anyone can do this. Even you. Give it a try. The instructions sounds more complicated than they actually were…maybe that was just us. Like I said I hate cooking with recipes. Too much reading. Too much measuring.

This is all you need
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We used half the chorizo and added extra mozzarella cheese. Also we opted not to use the shrimp because we didn’t want to spend the extra money. I haven’t mentioned how frugal I am?

The poppers were delicious. They definitely didn’t taste like anything was missing. This recipe will leave you wanting more but those jalapeños…FIRE but worth the burn.

We absolutely will be making this again especially now that it’s football season. If my team is half as good as these poppers it will be a good season.

TIP:- The longer you cook the jalapeños, the less spicy they will be.

Please let me know what you think if you decide to be adventurous and give it a try.

~TOODLES~
Stacey

HAWAII Awaits..

ALOHA!

I’m beyond excited!!

In less than thirty days we will be in MAUI celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. 😮 WOW. One decade in the books.

Two kids who met by chance, engaged seven months later, another seven months and we were married.  We’ve accomplished so much together from earning undergraduate and graduate degrees, to purchasing our first home before 30 to now raising three kids under three. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has absolutely been worth it! We’ve been blessed!!

MAUI awaits ….

I can’t wait to frolic on beautiful beaches, witness majestic sunrises and sunsets, but most importantly, spend TIME AWAY FROM THE KIDS. 😮 (our first trip since our oldest was born in 2012) Is it time to board yet? Just kidding….am I? 😉

Seven days in paradise.

So much to see, so much to do.

Here’s what’s currently on our list:

1. Drive to Hana

Upper Waikani Falls (Three Bears)
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2. Sunset sail
3. Pa’ako Beach
4. Mama’s Fish House
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5. Nakalele Blowhole
6. Waianapanapa National Park

Black Sand Beach
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7. Molokini Crater
8. Haleaka National Park
9. Kaihalulu (Red Sand Beach)

10. Hamoa Beach
11. Makena Big Beach
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12. Honolulu Bay

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I can’t wait to experience this wonderful island and create beautiful memories with my hubby.

If you’ve been to Maui or know anyone with good recommendations, please share this post. Thank you!

PS:- Photos from Instagram accounts MAUIHI and MAUIVISIT

~TOODLES~
Stacey

Labor Day

The last hooray of summer. The last trip to the beach. The last cookout.  The last weekend to rock your white wardrobes.  The last weekend before everyone is off to school and back to their routines.  Why must summer end? 😥 Well it doesnt have to…at least for a few more weeks. The perks of a Stay At Home Mommy. 🙂

While we didn’t make it to the beach like I planned, we had a lovely weekend in Virginia with my in-laws.

Saturday morning Hubby and I had a kid-free run in Maymont Park . We jogged 2.5 miles.  We had to enjoy the views in the Japanese Garden.

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After breakfast we took the kids to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens (I LOVE this place, if you haven’t figured that out by now)

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The sand pit was a new discovery after all my trips here. Can you believe that? I told you before this place thought of everything!

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The kids had water and sand so it was like going to the beach…right? More or less

Sunday evening we had a little family gathering. It was great watching the twins play with their cousins.

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And if that wasn’t enough, we surprised our oldest with a trip to Kings Dominion with her buddy Brenden.

This photo captured my heart.

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Here my son checks Brenden about playing with his big sister 😀

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I live for days like these with my little family; and, being able to spend it with another wonderful couple was the icing on the cake.

I hope you had a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!

If you’re not off to school or work, then officially there’s still two more weeks of summer!

What adventures will you seek before summer ends?

~TOODLES~
Stacey

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Three weeks ago (8.19) the twins had their 12 month checkup and we needed to work on a few things:-
1. Read more
2. Transition to whole milk
3. Get rid of bottles
4. Ditch the binkie

Reading Is Fundamental
I knew I should’ve been doing this A LOT more but it’s easy to use my three year old as an excuse; BUT No more excuses.

I’ve been reading to them at least once every day when we’re at home, typically early morning (before 7 a.m), mainly because I’m not ready to go downstairs to start our day. Somehow, staying in their room feels like the day hasn’t started. They don’t listen to the stories half the time, but I’ve also been making a conscientious effort to do more educational things with them, but big sister is my priority.

Transition to Milk in Sippy Cups

Switching to milk wasn’t the difficult part. They would drink the whole milk if it was in their bottles, but REFUSED if it was in a sippy cup. They would literally GO hungry rather than drink out of a cup. I remember one day baby girl was so upset; almost an hour after falling asleep she was having palpitations.

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We tried several different sippy cups. They really liked this orange one by Nuby and of course we couldn’t find a second one. So they fought A LOT. I don’t think the type of cups was the issue; they were just testing me to see if I was serious.

They will be defiant. They will cry A LOT. The key is staying consistent. It hurts you more than it hurts them; It truly does. The first week was the hardest week. They fussed excessively. Morning. Noon. Night. Sometimes I gave them their bottles just to stop the crying, but look at them now…

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She can be so silly sometimes
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He even knows how to rotate the cup when the milk is almost finish. That’s big boy status. Lol
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NO Binkie Allowed

The big Kahuna. This is the one I’ve dreaded the most! Nelle ONLY used a binkie when her brother was using it. She would literally snatch it out his mouth. So half the battle was done. He’s been attached to his orange binkie since birth.  They are like two peas in a pod.  There are plenty of pics.

Once I was successful with #2 and #3 I started to SLOWLY ditch the bink.  I took it away during the day and he didn’t fuss at all but I would give it to him at bedtime. We did this for about two weeks.

I figured with summer’s unofficially end, so too shall his bink.  After Labor Day weekend, we returned home and he hasn’t seen the binkie since. He cried the first three or four nights but now just like his bottle, the binkie is a distant memory. 💃💃

I’m so glad this phase is over!!

If you’re going through these phases, it will get better, I promise 🙂

TIP:- Use sippy cups without a straw because you will have to teach them about when to and not to tilt the cups
~TOODLES~
Stacey

Hamptonians

Summer is unofficially-officially over! 🙊:'(

Am I the only one who is in denial this is happening? I REFUSE to accept that fall is almost here despite the leaves turning and fall fashion EVERYWHERE. Summer doesn’t officially-officially end until the 23rd so if you’re with me, let’s keep making summer memories. 🙂

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You’ve probably heard of the coveted Hamptons in upstate New York where celebrities flock to their lavish mansions from Memorial Day through Labor Day. They host grand parties, sun bathe on their yachts, and dine at the finest restaurants when not being served by a chef in the comfort of their swanky homes, of course. I wouldn’t mind experiencing a week of the lifestyle of the rich and famous, but don’t see that happening anytime soon.

Growing up in New Jersey, just three hours away (with the traffic-god on your side), I used to think the Hamptons was reserved for A-listers. Like, somehow a yacht or a private plane was required for entry and or acceptance. I DREAMED of visiting until last year when we celebrated one of my dear friend’s 30th birthday in Amagansett. I was almost 6 months pregnant with the twins.

Contrary to what you believe, the Hamptons is not only for the exclusive; you, too, can enjoy this summer getaway. Time isn’t on your side this summer, but you can make plans for next year. ☺

The Hamptons provides a great escape from the overly congested city of New York. It is just hours away and offers access to numerous public beaches, quaint little villages with quintessential Hamptons-style. If you’re like me, window shopping is about all you will do, but that’s still great fun.

We had a lovely day at the beach.
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I’m not sure about playing in this stuff
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It doesn’t taste too good either
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The first lighthouse in New York State.
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We watched the sunset at the beach then settled in for the night. It was a LONG night. The kids were restless. They are horrible sleepers when not in the comfort of their own beds. In fact, this trip is making me reconsider overnight trips. They were awake before the sun even had a chance to kiss the sky.

We grabbed breakfast from
Pierre’s in Bridgehampton. An ABSOLUTE MUST despite the exorbitant prices. Personally, I recommend dining in for breakfast and ordering the French Toast. It may not sound like much from the menu’s description, but it’s THE BEST French Toast I’ve ever had. Its so fresh and just melts in your mouth leaving you wanting more with each bite. Before you know it, you’ve devoured the entire thing! You might even be tempted to order a second.

We drove to Sag Harbor and had breakfast at the pier, watching tiny boats to mega yachts depart for their adventure. It was a lovely morning. It’s always a great Saturday when you wake with nothing on the agenda and a view like this.

With stomachs full it was time for a different view. We were off to the beach in Montauk but opted for Amagansett Square to unwind before our drive home.

Always putting on a show 🙂
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We feasted on cold refreshments and snacks from Mary’s Marvelous . I recommend their mango smoothie and the CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFIN is to die for!! If you are a chocolate lover, it is worth every single calorie.

The strawberry smoothie was rather delicious too. My boy didn’t want to share with his sister.
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In total agreement with my two year old, “I wish we had a beach house so we wouldn’t have to go home” 😐

~TOODLES~
Stacey

I’m ALL ALONE, Art Discovery

My fellow mamas, what would you do with a kid-free, hubby-free weekend?

It was my FIRST weekend away from my big little family. The first time since 2011. No projects to finish. No one’s needs to occupy my mind. No butt-butt to change. Nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch. Absolutely NOTHING on the agenda.

Deep sigh. I wasted much of the weekend at home laissez-faire but I wanted some action. I need something to remind me of this precious gift of being ALONE. My adventure awaited…

My chosen destination: Meridian Hill Park. Where you ask? In Washington DC, of course. How original you say? Don’t judge me. It’s MY weekend. MY prerogative.

As I parked my car I could slightly hear the beating of the drums. It was a beckoning sound.The anticipation intensified.

I climbed to the top of the never-ending stairs, all fifty of them. Yes I counted them. I could hardly hide my disappointment with the turnout.

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Little did I know I was in for a treat and, oh boy, what a treat it was!

It was around 3 in the afternoon. An absolutely beautiful summer day. Nestled above the city, now I could appreciate those fifty steps. A light breeze swayed the trees rhythmically. Shades of blue hugged the skies, not a cloud in sight.

With each passing hour the drum circle grew larger and larger. It was about Five o’ clock now. Things were in full swing. The dancers rhythmically swaying their hips with the beat of the drums. Spectators surrounded the performers, now standing room only…more families relaxing on the lawn on this gorgeous evening.

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Meridian Hill Park is the kind of place where you bring a blanket, a picnic basket, some good company and exchange laughter on a Sunday afternoon!

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Comradeship.  The unison with which they played. Their raw talents. Novices to expert, huddled in a circle. Young and old. Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, Asians. Indifference set aside…the beating of the drums uniting them. It wasn’t the sound of one trying to be superior; they all played to one beat.

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This, my friend, is art! The beating of the drums felt in the depths of your being. Transcending you in time. You couldn’t help but sway your hips, stomp your feet, and bop your head. This truly should be experienced at least once, especially if you are a lover of the arts; but, even if you aren’t this might just very well be the introduction you need.

I can still hear one of the eldest performers, Mr Willie, yelling “Give it all you got. Is that all you got?” In such a playful way encouraging each artist to dig even deeper, if that’s even possible.

They say music heals the soul and for these few hours my soul wanted nothing more than to be engrossed in this moment in time; BUT, my stomach beckoned.

It wouldn’t be me without food, right? I treated myself to dinner at Sequoia while I soaked up the last few hours of being ALL ALONE. 🍷

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I should and will do this more often.

~TOODLES~
Stacey

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden – cont’d

This is the second installation of the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden series. Why would I want to see more, you ask? That’s simple, it’s gorgeous here!

Are you a local and need a getaway? Are you visiting Richmond, VA to get a break from life’s hustle and bustle?

The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden provides a wonderful escape. You are removed from all your worries, even if just for a little while. The lush vegetation and the serenity the gardens provide is in a class of its own. My little family and I look forward to more adventures here.

From the moment you open the doors you are instantly drawn into the courtyard. There’s so much beauty to behold! The gardens are perfectly manicured, reminding me of my travels of Europe’s countryside.

Enjoy!

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Grandma, do you having any wishing money?
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Worries disappear….
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Don’t be fooled by all this sweetness…
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Off on the 100 meter dash with sissy’s purse 😂
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All I needed was a book…Who am I kidding…A glass of wine sounds more like it. 🙂
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My little CuddleBug..fly, fly butterfly….
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Running up and down the hill was one of those moments that I know she will treasure.
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Sorry, but all good things must come to an end….well, for now anyway….more to come.

Have a lovely day!

~TOODLES~
Stacey